New rules as art galleries start to reopen

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Art lovers can expect an “intimate” and “special” experience as some galleries reopen this week, with restricted numbers allowed in at any one time.

Appointment-based booking systems will be in place at some venues allowing people to get a cultural fix in a safe way, as galleries join shops and some zoos in a national reopening on Monday.

The David Zwirner gallery in London’s Mayfair will have an appointment-only system, admitting a maximum of 10 people at once, and making face masks available.

Angela Choon, senior partner at the contemporary gallery, which had up to 1,000 weekly visitors pre-lockdown, told the PA news agency: “We think that by doing it this way people can have a more intimate and secure way of viewing art again, without being worried about their safety.

“It actually gives you a much more intimate and more personal experience.”

She added: “It’s quite a treat right now to see art and I think people must be looking forward to doing something like that after all this time.”

Ms Choon said she hopes visitors will feel assured that they can have “visual pleasure” in a safe and comfortable environment.

“It’s one of the first cultural things that is permitted to actually open up I would imagine, so I think that people would be quite open to try to come in and try to see these things again,” she said.

Neil Wenman, a partner at Hauser & Wirth, a gallery on Savile Row which will also have an appointment-based system in place, said: “We’re super excited to be opening because obviously for us it’s all about showing art to people, and when people can’t come it sort of ruins the concept.”

A maximum of 15 people will be allowed in Hauser & Wirth’s large gallery, and masks will be available for visitors.

Mr Wenman told PA: “It’s a special time to come and see the art because there will undoubtedly be less people, and given that, the experience will be even more intimate, and they can really sit and look at the art or stand and look at the painting with much more sense of being one-on-one with the artwork.

“It couldn’t really be a better time to see art, actually.

“The museums are opening after us so at the moment the galleries are the best place to go and see art.”

Fernanda Garcia, managing director at Gazelli Art House in Mayfair, said just three visitors will be allowed in the gallery at any one time, adding: “The gallery will most probably feel emptier due to the reduced number of visitors, but it might also have a positive impact on the intimacy within which the works are being viewed.”



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