PL Recommends #1
In this new Pandemic Lens feature we present articles, essays, opinions, and commentaries about art created during quarantine. As interpreters of the societal mores, cultural events and moods of the time, artists lead us deeper within ourselves and allow us to confront, explore, process and cope with our thoughts, emotions, and feelings ranging from grief, loss, isolation, fear, anger, helplessness and frustration to our collective and individual moments of joy and hopes for the future. Please join us each week as we look at pandemic art past, present and future.
Quote of the Week
“In this moment in time, I think we could all use personal encounters with works of art, as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, economic upheaval, and systemic racism. Artists don’t wish away tough topics; they dive straight in. I often think of artists as creative first responders who interpret the world we live in and respond with artworks that resonate.”
—Stephanie Stebich, Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum, on the occasion of the re-opening of the Smithsonian and Renwick Galleries. Read full text
THIS WEEK’S RECOMMENDED READS
Reimagining Visual Art: Out of the Virus and Out of the Box
I’m inspired by 15-year old Moldavian artist Iulia Cabaceno’s philosophy that “art makes people brighter and kinder and the world will become more colorful living creatively. That’s why to step out of the virus we need to create and step out of the box.” The vision of “stepping out of the virus” and “creating” is empowering. Could this concept change us from helpless victims to survivors and “thrivers” endowed with strength and resilience? Like Iulia, I think we are resilient! Fifteen is remarkably young to have so much insight and depth, especially to this septuagenarian.
Read this remarkable and inspiring piece and enjoy Iulia’s artistic talent.
How 9 artists Are Living and Creating during Self-Isolation
CNN Feature Article
We are all connected globally, all affected by this virus, and these artists from around the world share universal truths and feelings of hope and of despair. In this roundup, artists living in locations from South Africa to Canada share original works created at home during the pandemic. One of my favorites is South African artist Olivie Keck who commented, “Having to adjust has been difficult. However, I have found sanctuary in the act of making.” Sanctuary seems like an excellent place to be in these times.
How Art Movements Tried to Make Sense of the World in the Wake of the 1918 Flu Pandemic
Anna Purna Kambhampaty
“Though we don’t know exactly how COVID-19 will affect art and art movements to come, the visual culture has already shifted.”
Today’s pandemic is OUR reality and it influences how we define ourselves and view the times in which we are living, just as the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic determined the Zeitgeist of those times and how artists dealt with their COVID-19, including Edvard Munch’s Self-Portrait after the Spanish Flu, which details his survival of and recovery from the illness. (I was surprised to learn that The Scream is actually not about a human sound, but rather the cacophony from the surroundings of our tortured artist, and therefore likely in his head.)
OTHER NOTABLE BITS AND BYTES FROM AROUND THE WEB
Re-imagining a Post-Pandemic Art World
John Killacky, VTDigger
“No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear”
Toni Morrison, The Nation
“The Role of Art in Times of Pandemic”
María Victoria Guzmán, Artishock
Copyright © 2020 Linda Bennett
Linda Bennett has been a museum docent for 10 years, most recently focusing on engaging Adults with Memory Loss with works of art at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. In addition she has earned two graduate degrees (Master of Science and Master of Public Health) from the University of Michigan.