The Biennale of Sydney moved online as Australia braces for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daria Simone Harper
Mar 23, 2020 5:35PM, via Biennale of Sydney

Works by the collective Tennant Creek Brio on view in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney. Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images.

Following the most recent guidelines set in place by Australian government officials due to COVID-19, the Biennale of Sydney is closing its public exhibitions indefinitely as of March 24th. The biennial will now be viewable online through a partnership with Google, allowing audiences around the world to engage with the exhibition through the Google Arts & Culture platform.

Now in its 22nd edition, this year’s Biennale is titled “NIRIN,” meaning “edge” in the first-nation Wiradjuri language. Led by indigenous and First Nations artists, “NIRIN,” brings together more than 700 artworks by 101 artists and collectives from around the world. The new virtual edition of the Biennale will include digital versions of its exhibitions and programs, including virtual walk-throughs, podcasts, curated tours, and artist takeovers.

An announcement from the Biennale reads in part:

The Biennale of Sydney...looks forward to welcoming audiences back to the physical exhibition when Government authorities deem it safe to reopen. Until then, the Biennale of Sydney team encourages everyone to look after one another during this challenging time—and, when going to look for connections in isolation, to engage online.

This cancellation is one of the art world’s latest events to be impacted by the increasing spread of COVID-19.The 13th edition of the Manifesta biennial, scheduled to open on June 7th in Marseille, has been postponed due to the virus. The second edition of the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, set to take place in the capital of Latvia, has also been postponed.

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Daria Simone Harper