COVID-19

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with COVID-19



Illustration Photography

Creatures of Hope: Cheery Illustrated Monsters Strut through New York City Streets

April 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Soho (2019). All images © Loe Lee, shared with permission

Friendly monsters with enthusiastic grins and pastel fur and feathers have been sauntering through the streets of New York City thanks to Loe Lee. The jolly characters are part of the Chinese-American illustrator’s Creatures of Hope series, which overlays photographs of the city with the whimsical figures. The project was born out of the city’s strength and perseverance this last year. “As a native New Yorker, it was heartbreaking to see NYC endure such crippling loss and confusion during the pandemic last year. Yet, despite everything, I still saw people striving with unshakable resilience,” Lee tells Colossal.

Creatures of Hope was named the runner-up in Creative Quarterly 62 and will be displayed on LinkNYC this year. Lee also has been working with Chinatown NYC to paint murals imbued with magic and joy around her native neighborhood—the idea is to increase safety and draw people back to the area following the reduced traffic and violence against Asian people since the onset of the pandemic.

Pick up prints, postcards, and stickers of the towering creatures in Lee’s shop, and follow their latest adventures around the city on Instagram and Behance. (via Creative Boom)

 

Chinatown (2020)

Hudson River Park Pier 25 (2019)

Lower East Side (2020)

 

 



Art History Photography

150,000 Hearts Representing Lives Lost to Coronavirus in the UK Line the COVID Memorial Wall in London

April 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All photos © Henri Calderon for Colossal

Nearly 500 meters of small, red hearts will soon cover an expanse of concrete facing the River Thames in London. Now dubbed the National COVID Memorial Wall, the poignant display publicly commemorates the 150,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom so far. Each heart represents one victim, with short messages of grief, love, and remembrance scribed by loved ones in their centers. It takes about ten minutes to walk by the entirety of the project, which serves as a staggering reminder of the virus’s devastation.

Coordinated by COVID-19 Bereaved Families For Justice, the two-meter-high wall is situated between the Westminster and Lambeth bridges, opposite the Houses of Parliament. According to The Guardian, Matt Fowler helms the ongoing project, which he began a few weeks ago by painting 15,000 hearts on the facade. His father died from the virus last April. “When you see all the hearts and think what each one represents, it’s absolutely frightening,” Fowler says.

Organizers still are raising money for supplies to complete all 150,000 hearts—although official government statistics currently reflect 149,000 deaths, which is the largest loss in Europe—that volunteers will continue to paint to account for all victims. Talks are also in the works about preserving the memorial to ensure that it’s a permanent fixture in London.

This past weekend, photographer Henri Calderon captured images for Colossal that document the memorial’s progress, which you can see below.

 

 

 



Art

Aachoo!! A Sneezing Pensioner Knocks Down a Row of Houses in New Banksy Work in Bristol

December 10, 2020

Christopher Jobson

All images via the artist

In what could be interpreted as a tongue-in-cheek warning about not wearing a mask during the times of COVID-19, residents of Totterdown, Bristol, awoke to a new mural by the elusive artist Banksy. The work depicts an older pensioner sneezing her dentures out while subsequently knocking down an entire row of houses—a staged photo shared by the artist includes a tumbling man being knocked asunder by the germy gust. A wide shot reveals the location as Vale Street, noted for being the steepest street in Britain at a 22-degree incline. The new piece comes a few months after another site-specific work in Nottingham featuring a girl using a disassembled bicycle wheel as a hula hoop.

 

 

 



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, more than 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)

 

 

 

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Sailing Ship Kite