Wish you were there

Video Conferencing Backgrounds

We’re all spending a great deal of time on video conferencing platforms. Our collection has great alternates to your regular background. These works include places and situations you might be missing while you are in social isolation, like restaurants and concerts.

Image for post
Man in Bistro, Paris, France, Charles Harbutt, (Camden, New Jersey, 1935–2015, Monteagle, Tennessee), 1975, Gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 in. x 12 in. (20 cm x 30.48 cm), Gift of Helen Levitt, 1999.8

Photographer Charles Harbutt’s candid shot of a man reading in a bistro makes for a perfect backdrop to add levity to a boring zoom meeting. The sitter seems like he’s definitely passing judgement on whatever scene is playing out virtually in your call. It’s also ideal for those of us missing being able to be served a meal at a restaurant.

Image for post
The Seine at Andelys, Abel G. Warshawsky, (Sharon, Pennsylvania, 1883–1962, Monterey, California), 1923, Oil on canvas, 32 in. x 39 1/4 in. (81.28 cm x 99.7 cm), Gift of Miss Malvyn Wachner in memory of her brother, Charles B. Wachner, 1946.17

Wandering down the Seine, perusing street stalls might not be in the cards for your right now, but it could be the mood you’re hoping to strike for your next call. After all, you can really show your mettle, if you can keep your wits about you, while surrounded by the riverside pleasures.

Image for post
Public Square, Old Cleveland, 1836, Herman Kepets, (Cleveland, Ohio, 1915–2003, California), 1936, Linocut on paper, 12 1/8 in. x 15 in. (30.8 cm x 38.1 cm), Gift of the Art Department, Akron Board of Education, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration Commissioned through the New Deal art projects, 1948.42

Virtual backgrounds allow you to travel to the past. This linocut offers a look at Cleveland’s Public Square much more verdant and rural than it is today.

Image for post
Count Basie Band, Royal Festival Hall, London, Herman Leonard, (Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1923–2010, Los Angeles, California), c. 1960 (printed later), Gelatin silver print, 13 3/8 in. x 16 3/8 in. (33.97 cm x 41.59 cm), Gift of George Stephanopoulos, 2007.99

Sure we all miss being surrounded by people at the movies and at festivals, but for your next zoom, skip past just being in the crowd at a show, and pretend you are backstage at a great show, like this image of Count Basie’s Band performing in London. Being in the know will make you seem like the IT professional on your next call.

Image for post
Akron Art Museum Entrance, Nicholas Buffon, (Seattle, Washington, 1987 — ), 2018, Acrylic paint, pencil, and carbon transfer on Bristol Paper, 11 x 8 3/4 in. (28 x 22 cm), Museum Acquisition Fund, 2018.9.4

Our favorite artwork for a zoom background might be this one by Nicholas Buffon. We’re excited for the day when we get the chance to step into the Akron Art Museum to see