Now that Brisbane is back in lockdown, I have been searching for something to keep my mind occupied that isn’t just watching copious amounts of Netflix and working from home. A lovely friend sent me an Instagram message recently alerting me to The Untitled Drawing Club, run by Alexis Winter. As soon as I clicked on the link to read more about the club, I wanted to join. To start, I will briefly describe the club so you know what I’m talking about. Then, I will review the virtual museum on this week’s agenda. Finally, I want to share the artwork I created inspired by my visit. I’ve never really delved into art since high school so this is not only taking me out of my comfort zone, but will hopefully introduce me to more museums around the world!
What is ‘The Untitled Drawing Club’?
The Untitled Drawing Club is the brainchild of illustrator and educator, Alexis Winter (based in Melbourne, Australia). For the next twelve weeks, on a Monday, a link to a virtual gallery or museum will be shared on the club’s page (link shared at end of blog post). Basically, you follow the link, visit the museum or gallery from the comfort of your own home, and create some art in response to your visit.
Although called ‘Drawing Club’, Winter has made this as accessible as possible stating that you can create ‘in whatever artistic medium you feel most comfortable’. For me, I am a little intimidated by drawing but I do love my cross stitch. With this in mind, I was more eager to join and have some fun.
The museum or gallery is shared on a Monday and artworks are shared on the Sunday of that week. Just make sure to use the hashtag #TheUnititledDrawingClub (yay for accessible hashtags that capitalise the first letter of each new word). This week’s museum is the Museo Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo Museum) located in Mexico City.
It feels quite strange to comment on my virtual visit as I physically visited this museum back in 2015 (remember when international travel was possible). I was in awe of the museum’s beauty and the vibrancy of the colours that I saw while wandering around. It is a hybrid of a house museum and a gallery with sections set-up to look exactly how they would have when Kahlo was in residence. An assortment of her artworks, clothing, medical devices, etc, are also dispersed throughout.
For some added context, the museum is located inside ‘La Casa Azul’, known as The Blue House. This was where Kahlo lived both with her family and Diego Rivera. You can immediately see why it is called ‘The Blue House’. The outside and inside are painted in such a rich royal blue that really captures your attention. Kahlo wished for the house to become a museum after her death and this became a reality in 1958. Not only is the museum itself wonderful to look through, but the gardens are on a whole new level.
I found the virtual museum experience to be a tiny bit clunky. However, it still provides visitors with an overview of the space and would definitely encourage me to visit in person. The virtual tour is hosted on Google Arts & Culture so feels as though you are using Google maps to look through the museum. When you are in a room, you cannot zoom in to see artworks but you can select them from a ribbon at the bottom of the screen. When you try to zoom in, the image does get a bit blurry but you can still make out what you’re seeing. This does mean that you are unable to read all the labels and if you click on an artwork from the main tour it doesn’t bring up more details.
When you visit the museum’s website they do offer a virtual tour that looks a bit different to the one I viewed. It’s slightly better as I found the images clearer and zooming in was more possible. I’ve provided a link below. My advice is to take your time looking through the garden – it’s where the virtual tour shines.
It is incredible that you can be at home, digitally visiting this museum on the other side of the world. I would love to connect my computer to either a TV or a projector so I could see a much larger image. I believe this would be more immersive. If this is possible, definitely give it a try.
I am going to leave my review there and let you explore the museum virtually on your own. I am very interested in the different ways that museums can offer a virtual experience. Whether that be like this one – literally taking people through a museum digitally – or something else – thinking of one I saw in a Museum Next presentation that just contained artworks and not the physical museum space.
Here is what I created for this week’s artwork:
It is a combination of drawing with art markers and cross stitch. I will never forget the many vibrant colours I saw in Mexico and I hope that this is reflected in my work. I had so much fun experimenting with cross stitch on paper (something I had never done before) and I feel that this is how I will approach all the artworks in the club. Start with a basic drawing then add some cross stitch. I am so excited to see all twelve of my works together at the end. But for now, one week at a time!
If you are interested in joining this club then click the link here for more information.