Becoming Art

Becoming Art

By Natalie Taylor


Art may not be considered an essential business, but it is an essential part of life. It helps us understand the world around us and promotes creativity, which helps us cope with grief and adapt to new challenges. In the post-pandemic world, we will need to tap into our deepest reservoirs of adaptability.


So, what is happening to art and artists during the lockdown? Because we now live in a technology-based world, art galleries and museums have been able to reshape themselves. Major museums around the world, such as the Tate, the Met, and others have been allowing free virtual visits so people can enjoy their art exhibits. Some curators offer online lectures and interactive talks. Art galleries have done something similar—some provide virtual exhibits and even online art classes; international art fairs have opened online viewing rooms. But it is with individual artists and the public that you find the greatest creativity.


David Goodsell, a California professor of computational biology and artist, is best known for paintings of cells on a molecular level. His painting of a cross section of the COVID-19 virus appeared on Twitter, and it “went viral”! It is now available as a coloring book for kids.


Many artists have turned to public spaces for their artistic expressions. Erica Joza, for example, paints murals in Brooklyn in which the virus is shown as a comic book villain. Alan Nakagawa created a collaborative sound collage by requesting the public to send in haikus—a minimalist Japanese poetry form—and titled the project “Social Distance, Haiku, and You.” In Philadelphia, a group started a project of painting posters which they place on walls of closed businesses and schools. 


Perhaps the most “fun” art project involves individuals around the world who recreate famous works of art at their own homes and then share them on social media. The trend started sometime in April and has become a global phenomenon that brings joy to those who create the unique tableaus as well as for those who see the results when posted online. 


The Getty Museum of Los Angeles issued a playful challenge to the public: recreate great works of art with objects you find in your home. The response was overwhelming and incredibly creative. Consider Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” with the subject a poodle adorned with a tennis ball instead of a pearl. Or two women posing for “American Gothic,” one of them grimly holding a dining fork. And a palatable, fun depiction of Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” staged on a kitchen counter with a half-eaten sandwich and slices of bologna hanging from the top of a toaster. What about Frieda Kahlo with her parrots completely transformed?


Can you think of a better way to find enjoyment in art and escape the dreariness of the lockdown? Go ahead, look around your house, you might find just the right elements to reimagine some grand painting or sculpture. 


Check what others have done: