COVID-19

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Art History

Art Museums and Cultural Institutions Around the Globe are Sending Each Other Virtual Bouquets and Botanicals

March 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dear @mcachicago, Roses are red Violets are blue Your art is modern We love visiting you! #MuseumBouquet Tulip: Robert Thornton, Temple of Flora (1807)” —Field Museum

Social media was teeming last week with floral offerings from cultural institutions around the globe. Since many are closed due to COVID-19, museums like the Guggenheim, MCA Chicago, and the New-York Historical Society, which began the botanical trend, exchanged sweet messages paired with virtual bouquets from their current collections. We’ve gathered some of them here, but be sure to check out #MuseumBouquet on Twitter and Instagram for more historical florals. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 

“A Klimt for a Klimt! Mäda Primavesi and her flowers send their regards to you, neighbor. Cherry blossomTwo hearts#MuseumBouquet” — The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

“To our Crimson friends @peabodymuseum –a Red trillium (Trillium erectum). These should begin blooming across New England in April. We hope this #MuseumBouquet is a reminder of better, brighter days ahead. #MuseumFromHome” —Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

 

 

“Hello to our lovely friends @hirshhorn, we hope this Tiffany lamp #MuseumBouquet shines bright in your feed today. We’re thinking of you! 💐” —New-York Historical Society

 

 

“Hi @Hirshhorn! Happy Tuesday. #FlowersforFriends” —Tate

 

 

 



Art

This Too Shall Pass: How Spanish Artist Escif's Meditating Woman Lit Up Valencia

March 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Escif, shared with permission

The beginning of Escif’s Instagram post reads, “Yesterday the meditator’s body was burned. With it many things were burned. 4 tons of wood were burned. A year of intense and wonderful work was burned.” Attached to a darkened image of glowing flames, his words are simultaneously reflective, accepting, and hopeful.

The Spanish artist is referring to his large-scale project “This Too Shall Pass,” which was scheduled to be part of Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival. Each year, the outdoor celebration sees massive projects created by artists—like Okuda San Miguel in 2018 and PichiAvo in 2019—that are set on fire and eventually consumed by flames. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 event that would have featured Escif’s work was postponed. Despite its lack of spectators, though, the Spanish city decided to proceed with part of the traditional ceremony, lighting just the bottom half of Escif’s wooden sculpture on fire.

This is a familiar story. Creatives, businesses, and institutions around the world are struggling with the loss of revenue as exhibitions and shows have been pushed to a later date or canceled altogether. They’re also dealing with the more emotional impact of projects unrealized, something Escif has been sharing candidly.

This is not the end we expected. Neither are the circumstances. The magnitude of this figure can never be. Perhaps another woman, perhaps a part of it, perhaps only the memory, perhaps only her absence… The meditating woman tells us that everything is impermanent. Nothing is forever. We will overcome the emptiness of these failures.

Topping 20 meters tall, the artist’s wooden figure is dressed in a white button-up with dark pants. She sits in the lotus position with closed eyes and a straight back and represents quiet, thoughtfulness, and moments of peace. “From this woman’s ashes, live flowers will be born. And little insects will scatter its seeds. Seeds of conscience, of peace, of humanity. Seeds of light that help us face the new world that is being born these days,” Escif writes.

Although her bottom half has been burned, the figure’s head and shoulders will remain in Valencia Public Square until the crisis ends. To fit the current moment, the artist outfitted her with a surgical mask that covers her nose and mouth. “Meditating is the exercise of training our consciousness in the acceptance of impermanence,” the artist said. “Reality is changing and ephemeral. We are living in an uncertain moment that we do not know where it will take us. Let’s listen to what this meditating woman tells us. This too shall pass.”

 

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Art History

Human Figures Removed from Classic Paintings by Artist José Manuel Ballester

March 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” (1498)

Despite being a couple of years old, José Manuel Ballester’s artworks feel eerily familiar in the time of COVID-19. The Spanish artist recreates classic paintings like Goya’s “The Third of May 1808,” Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting,” and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” except he leaves out one central aspect: humans. Some of Ballester’s digital versions retain remnants of the former subjects, showing blood-covered ground marking the spot of a gruesome battle or even a faint outline of the sitter in an unfinished portrait. Other works, however, seem to exist simply on their own, offering a view of an empty gallery or a wreckage on rough waters.

In an interview with Bored Panda, Ballester said that while his Concealed Spaces series often is regarded as humorous, it has multiple meanings. “After a deeper look it’s not difficult to find transcendence and the multiple possible interpretations, both as new images and as related to their original counterparts,” he said.

One of the clearest aspects in this series is the way we can understand art from the point of view of each period, which has a unique way of looking and understanding reality shared by artists, who develop their creativity inside those period’s values and connect with ideas and universal precepts extended in time.

For more of Ballester’s digital creations that reconsider historical projects, check out his site. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” (1656)

Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (c.1486)

Jan Vermeer’s “The Allegory of Painting” (1668)

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” (1937)

Francisco Goya’s “The Third of May 1808” (1814)

Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of Medusa” (1819)

 

 



Science

Watch the Aquatic Animals at Monterey Bay Aquarium via These Free Live Streams

March 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

You may have had to cancel your spring vacation, but you still can (virtually) visit the aquatic animals housed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Peek at the groups of jellyfish and sharks, do some bird watching in the Aviary, follow the African penguins as they waddle around, and catch a glimpse at the pulsing moon jellies all through the institutions’ free live streams. And for close-ups of the species, head to Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Colossal

Skillshare Classes to Keep You Busy—and Give You a Break from the News—While Social Distancing

March 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

As many of us are stuck at home the next few weeks due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus, Colossal aims to help fill the hours both productively—and unproductively—with some fun lists of activities: think art podcasts, animated shorts, online classes, our favorite art documentaries streaming now, and a few great new books. So log off Twitter, block the news for a few hours, and distract yourself from the ebb and flow of global anxiety. Today we start with Skillshare, an innovative online platform offering creative courses ranging from illustration and design to creative writing and marketing. Here are some of our favorite courses available now, many taught by artists and designers previously mentioned here on Colossal.

Take a drawing class with New York-based artist Shantell Martin (previously). She offers two courses designed for all levels using what she terms “low-maintenance” materials, like simple pens and drawing apps.

 

Learn to letter with Jessia Hische. The San Francisco-based illustrator, who has an impressive client list, has released three classes, including one designing book covers and two others focusing on text-based projects.

 

Detroit-born designer Aaron Draplin offers a course designed to “celebrate your grandma and all the weird sh*t your dad says by designing your family crest.” In other words, he teaches attendees the basics of logo design.

 

Sara Boccaccini Meadows combines watercolor and gouache in a class that teaches students to create a lush, botanical garden. The Brooklyn-based illustrator talks through sketching, mixing colors, layering paints, and adding detail.

 

For those hoping to build a brand, photographer and creative consultant Gareth Pon (previously) provides a staggering statistic: there are more than 300 million Instagram accounts. Pon’s course teaches best practices for getting noticed, from perfecting your profile to consistency to cross-posting.

 

A simple program based on daily practice, Brent Eviston’s The Art & Science of Drawing is created for beginners hoping to learn the fundamentals of shape, proportion, and shading.

 

Eviston offers a similar class focused on anatomical forms and bodies, although The Art & Science of Figure Drawing is geared toward those who already have a solid understanding of drawing basics.

 

Create a short clip with American director and stop-motion animator PES (previously), who shares insights behind developing concepts, determining narratives, getting the film, and editing a stop-motion project in his course.

 

 



History Illustration

Artists Respond to the Coronavirus Outbreak by Flooding Social Media with a Japanese Yokai Said to Ward Off Epidemics

March 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

A Japanese legend dating back to the 1800s has been resurfacing across social media recently because of its tie to staving off epidemics. A three-legged mermaid or merman with long hair and beak, the Amabie falls within the tradition of the yōkai—which is a supernatural monster or spirit in Japanese culture— and is said to have appeared from the waters near Kumamoto. The mythical tale states that the scale-covered creature emerged from the sea to tell prophecies about the upcoming harvests and potential destruction from disease. In the case of an epidemic, the legend states that people are supposed to draw the Amabie and share it with everyone who is ill. In response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Twitter and Instagram are full of illustrations, pencil drawings, and wool sculptures of the mysterious figure. (via Spoon & Tamago)

by illustrator Satake Shunske

phone backgrounds by tettetextile

by artist, painter, and designer Abe Seiji

by manga artist Keiichi Tanaka

 

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