Artists reflecting on the current global health crisis
by Hugo Bastidas | April 24, 2020
The idea for Life Under the Pandemic Moon had its inception in my “Art Theory and Criticism” class at the Art Students League. Starting as a small group show for class members, the exhibition became a far-reaching open call to everyone affected by COVID-19 in the tri-state area and beyond.
The selection process was challenging for many reasons. Some works were well done and expressive, but addressed the creators’ artistic continuum more than they did the pandemic. In addition, although pieces reflecting the reality of self-isolation are important, I looked for art that more closely captured the direct effect of the virus. Finally, a good number of entries addressed similar subjects, and I chose what I thought were the best representations.
There were many works that visualized parts of our experience during this global pandemic. I was careful to select those that allowed the viewer to connect with the images on a personal level.
The breadth and depth of the visual considerations were amazing. We are experiencing new feelings and behaviors, while perhaps revisiting familiar attitudes from the past. Asking our extended artistic community to share their take on these changes is empowering and comforting. It allows us to accept what this plague has done to us and to confront it. It also reassures us that we are not alone and we are all going through this in some manner.
I know most of us are still wondering if someone in our circle will come down with this virus. This uneasy feeling of fearing the unknown is exacerbated by the fact that COVID-19 can be anywhere and everywhere. It is a real thing that seems unbelievable. We are accustomed to seeing what we fear, like an opposing army, yet fearing this sinister and invisible threat has become the new normal.
I am grateful to everyone who submitted work for this show. I hope they and all of us continue to create and live to the fullest under these extraordinary circumstances. And please consider submitting your work to the sequel, “House Arrest.”
Be safe and stay well.