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Beep beep! Museums hold drive-thru exhibitions amidst the coronavirus pandemic

Multiple cultural institutions are announcing drive-thru art exhibitions to attract visitors while complying with new health and safety regulations.

That’s the case with the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, which will welcome up to 750 visitors per day to drive around the upcoming exhibition “Boijmans Ahoy Drive-Thru Museum”.

Museum-goers will have to arrive with their own electric cars or hire one from a local car dealer in order to discover the 10,000-square-meter space of the Rotterdam Ahoy, where the exhibition will be on view from Aug. 1 through 23.

They will have the opportunity to drive around some 40 large-scale works from the collection of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, including pieces by Bas Jan Ader, Paul McCarthy, Ugo Rondinone, Joep van Lieshout and Jim Shaw.

Installations by Bas Princen, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Anselm Kiefer and Olaf Nicolai are also featured in “Boijmans Ahoy Drive-Thru Museum”, which is described by organizers as a “corona-proof plan.”

“Visitors will experience the drive-thru exhibition from their own cocoon in the car, strangely enough the means of transport in which people now feel safest,” a project statement reads, adding that the “exhibition has a fun form but a serious undertone.”

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is not the only cultural institution mounting a drive-in exhibition amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which is expected to cause the closure of nearly 13% of museums worldwide according to recent figures.

Last June, Torontonian museum-goers had the opportunity to drive their cars into a 4,000-square-foot warehouse, shut off their engines and watch an immersive light-and-sound exhibition about the Dutch Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Art-directed by Massimiliano Siccardi with music composed by Luca Longobardi, “Gogh in Your Car” was organized by the same company that staged in 2019 the popular Atelier des Lumières light show in Paris.

“The fact is that this is not the way we originally envisioned opening this exhibit. It was never meant to be observed from a car, but desperate times call for desperate measures […]. I anticipate that it will be a challenge, and of course with everything else that comes with the social distancing restrictions, it’s something new that we will have to learn how to live with,” producer Svetlana Dvoretsky noted in a statement.

A similar drive-thru exhibition was mounted earlier this July by the Luis Maluf Art Gallery and Arca in São Paulo, Brazil.

On view through Aug. 9, “DriveThru.Art” gives art enthusiasts the opportunity to discover a selection of works by Brazilian contemporary artists while driving around the 9,000-square-meter space of Arca. RGA

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