COVID-19

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with COVID-19



Art Design History

Artists Explore Self-Expression Through Bizarre and Whimsical Masks at Denver's Vicki Myhren Gallery

October 26, 2020

Christopher Jobson

Felicia Murray, “Our Dying Reefs,” felted COVID mask, 2020. All photos shared with permission.

There is perhaps no symbol more representative of contemporary life than the humble face mask. A simple health device crucial to saving millions of lives around the world from a deadly COVID-19 pandemic spread by invisible airborne pathogens, and yet an object that’s been quixotically politicized at the callous expense of humanity for the gain of an elite few. A new exhibition at the University of Denver’s Vicki Myhren Gallery approaches the lighter side of face coverings: the ancient tradition of masks as self-expression.

Arranged on mannequins lining the gallery space, over 40 artists present interpretations of protective face wear in MASK, currently on view by appointment through December 1, 2020. The collection of whimsical, grotesque, quirky, and beautiful masks are medically non-functional but guaranteed to provoke a reaction through their novel construction. Several designs mimic natural filtration systems like foliage or a coral reef, while others use repurposed objects like zippers or pipes to create wholly unusual face sculptures.

“Through this project, we hope to call attention to the significance and signification of masking as an issue of public health and demonstration of civic responsibility,” the gallery shares in a statement. “As the selected artists show, masking is also a mode of outward self-expression and opportunity for creativity. In turns utilitarian and fantastical, the wearable artworks shown demonstrate how makers and thinkers are engaging with the pandemic and applying their skills and individual styles to a newly important medium.”

As part of the exhibition, Vicki Myhren Gallery has partnered with Denver’s RedLine Contemporary Art Center to fabricate free masks for distribution for those in need. (via Hyperallergic)\

 

Scottie Burgess, “Mask for Our Unseen Smiles” (2020)

Serge Clottey, “Mask for Our Times” (2020) (photo by Nii Odzenma)

Elizabeth Morisette, “Beak” (2020)

Liz Sexton, Porcupinefish, 2020.

Freyja Sewell, “Food” from Key Worker Series (2020)

Matt Harris, “Hope” (2020); Cristina Rodo, “Covidus,” wet and needle-felted wool, 2020. Photo courtesy Emma Hunt.

Kate Marling, “Classical Sculpture Mask” (2020)

 

 

 



Art

Strength: Pejac Honors Spain's Health Workers with a Moving Trio of Interventions

October 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Overcoming.” All images © Pejac, shared with permission

On the campus of University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander, Spain, a trio of interventions by street artist Pejac (previously) simultaneously responds to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and offers potential paths for healing. The new series, titled Strength, is Pejac’s direct response to the 50,000 people who have died from the virus in his home country. “The idea of the Strength project arises as a gesture of gratitude to the health workers of Valdecilla, for their work in general and during this Covid crisis in particular. Offering them what I do best, which is painting,” the artist says.

In “Social Distancing” (shown below), a horde of people escape from a crevice in the building’s facade. The trompe l’oei artwork is a multi-layered metaphor for the ways the virus has ruptured society and the necessity of community care and compassion. “Caress” features two silhouettes standing six-feet apart, with Monet-style reflections on the ground nearby. The figures, which represent a patient and doctor, stretch their hands toward each other.

Pejac worked in collaboration with young oncology patients to complete the third piece, titled “Overcoming” (shown below), in which a child perched on a wheelchair recreates Van Gogh’s “Wheat Field with Cypresses.” “This is something that we, as a society could do—take this crisis and use it to propel us forward,” he says.

Watch the heartwarming video below that captures the works-in-progress, and find more about the tribute on Pejac’s Instagram.

 

“Social Distancing”

“Social Distancing”

“Caress”

“Caress”

“Social Distancing”

“Social Distancing”

“Overcoming”

“Overcoming”

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“Overcoming”

“Social Distancing”

 

 



Animation

An Intimate Short Film Highlights 2020's Crises through Exquisitely Surreal Scenes

September 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set to subdued music, Nicolas Lichtle’s short film titled “à la fin…” is an unusually ethereal depiction of the crises climaxing in 2020. The delicate animation flows through a series of lightly-hued scenes that explore reactions to COVID-19, the wildfires raging across the planet, and the endless distractions of technology. “It’s a moment of introspection, very intimate, staged through a succession of small moments imbued with poetry, absurdity, and sometimes surrealism…” Lichtle writes.

Many of the anonymous characters’ faces are obscured by a plant, digital device, or cloth mask, and they undertake both mundane and bizarre tasks that critique contemporary life: An unassuming man runs on a treadmill while someone stands nearby to douse him with disinfectant, a figure with a bowling ball head shouts through a megaphone at upright pins, and two women happily wave at a distant earth set ablaze.

Lichtle is based in Paris and has an extensive collection of films on his site. Follow his critically-minded projects on Vimeo. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Art

Outfitted with Knights' Helmets, Children Painted by Seth Globepainter Play in the Streets of Paris

September 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Seth Globepainter, shared with permission

French artist Julien Malland, who works as Seth Globepainter (previously), is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with a new series of murals that capture the innocence of childhood. Painted throughout the thirteenth district of Paris, the public artworks feature kids in the midst of an imaginary adventure or playful activity: one rides an oversized pigeon, another blows multicolored bubbles, and a pair appears to float above the ground to embrace.

Each of the figures is sporting a metal knight’s helmet, a sign of protection for their physical wellbeing, in addition to a show of strength and resilience. In a note to Colossal, Globepainter says the headwear also refers to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in March in which he said, “We are at war,” as he ordered residents to stay home. The murals represent the way Parisians have accepted this new way of living and are about “how children, in particular, seem to have adapted easily to it,” the artist says. “They are protected by their helmets which weigh so heavily on them. They can only see through small openings in the metal, but they continue to play as if nothing had happened.”

To see more Globepainter’s public artworks that consider the world through the lens of childhood, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Disorienting Short Film by Lydia Cambron Recreates '2001: A Space Odyssey' in Quarantine

August 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

Eerie, hypnotic, and faithfully depicting the dismal reality that is 2020, a new short film by Lydia Cambron envisions her recent quarantine experience under the frame of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 2020: An Isolation Odyssey, the New York City-based designer recreates the 1968 version’s iconic ending as a way to “(poke) fun at the navel-gazing saga of life alone and indoors,” she writes in a statement.

Positioned vertically, the characters’ movements are synchronized perfectly, but while the original film’s Keir Dullea wades through the ornate home in an astronaut suit, Cambron sports a face mask and latex gloves. The reenactment is situated in the designer’s one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, and while it maintains the domestic qualities of the original, it also features contemporary updates, like a MacBook sitting on the table rather than a lavish meal. She even parallels the minutes-long credits precisely.

Cambron notes that the contemporary version considers a similarly disorienting life. “Multitasking while #wfh, conjuring guilt or longing with unused exercise equipment, your entire being reduced to a measure of time—these scenes all illustrate the absurd comedy of trying to maintain control during this unprecedented and unpredictable time,” she explains.

Follow Cambron’s parodic explorations—which include an annual exhibition titled JONALDDUDD— on Instagram and Vimeo. (via Daring Fireball)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Masks, Toilet Paper, and Thermometers Transform into Miniature, Outdoor Adventures by Artist Tatsuya Tanaka

August 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tatsuya Tanaka, shared with permission

In the time of COVID-19, disposable face masks, toilet paper, and other essentials are synonymous with safety, precaution, and staying indoors. But in Tatsuya Tanaka’s ongoing Miniature Calendar series, the everyday items are subverted to create the tiny sets of outdoor adventures. A folded mask serves as a small tent, toilet paper descends from a wall holder as a snowy ski hill, and a thermometer outfitted with wheels transforms into a speedy racecar. For more of the miniature scenes from the Japanese artist and photographer (previously), head to Instagram, where he publishes a new piece daily. (via Lustik)

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite