There has been Art that is noteworthy to Make a Dent Podcast. The Contemporary art world has been posting works of art on various social platforms without restraint in the public gallery for millions of people who can view and comment. This is a great forum for our artistic voice to be heard.
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HOW STREET ARTISTS AROUND THE WORLD ARE REACTING TO LIFE WITH COVID-19
Graffiti artists and muralists are sending messages of hope and despair with coronavirus public art
BY JENNIFER BILLOCK
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | April 23, 2020, 10:32 a.m.
As much of the world continues to shelter in place, those states and countries slowly easing restrictions are heading out into a world adorned with new art. Graffiti artists, street artists, and muralists have been taking over public spaces during the pandemic, using their art forms to express beauty, support, and dissent.
One of the newest pieces is in Milwaukee, a colorful, geometric mural by local artist Mauricio Ramirez that depicts a front-line medical worker in prayer. In Dublin, a neon-hued psychedelic coronavirus graces a wall, painted by SUBSET, an artist collective that focuses on social issues. In Berlin, there's a mural of Gollum from Lord of the Rings worshipping a roll of toilet paper. Even more, coronavirus-inspired art can be found on walls in Russia, Italy, Spain, India, England, Sudan, Poland, Greece, Syria, Indonesia, and elsewhere.
Graffiti shows Gollum from "Lord of the Rings" holding a roll of toilet paper and saying "My precious" in Berlin, Germany. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
Smithsonian magazine spoke to Rafael Schacter—anthropologist and curator focusing on public and global art, senior teaching fellow in material culture at the University College London and author of The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti—about the current coronavirus art movement. Schacter addressed why the art is so important to our collective experience during this pandemic, and what it means for the art world in the future.
Why is this type of creativity needed right now, during this time of crisis?
The very concept of 'the public,' both in terms of people and in terms of space, is really being stretched right now. We’re also in a time where scrutiny of public policy, discourse, and debate is hugely important. One of the spaces where that debate can emerge, especially among those who are marginalized or less able to speak within the media, in the street. A lot of issues of public space that were issued before the crisis—like increasing privatization, surveillance, increasing marginalization, corporatization, housing—are coming forward with the crisis. And these are issues that are often discussed through the medium of the street.
The crisis is not a leveling one. This whole idea of the crisis targets everyone the same, it really doesn’t. All our struggles are being exacerbated by the virus. Discourse emerges out of our ability to congregate, to protest, to come together. At a time where our ability to be in public is lessened, when the public space is being evaporated and displaced, it’s even more important that we’re able to have that space for debate. Yet we’re in a situation where we can’t be in that space. When one’s voice needs to be heard in public and the public becomes a danger itself, it’s even more important that scrutiny and dissent are able to be articulated. Graffiti is a space where dissent can be articulated and discourse can be pronounced. And even though it’s in many ways more difficult to produce because you can’t be in the public space, the focus on it becomes ever sharper because everything else is so empty around it.
How are coronavirus street art and graffiti pushing forward the world conversation about art and the virus itself?