Firstly, lets all calm tf down bc art isn’t gonna save us from this pandemic. You can organise as many insta residencies / takeovers and live stream drawing groups as you want, but it isn’t going to solve the worlds’ health and economic crisis.
Secondly, we have all been moving to online spaces anyway. We (us artists) are exhibiting in smaller n smaller spaces, from the inside of kitchen cupboards n toilet cubicles, with under-represented artists slowly being shunned out of the capital. It was inevitable that we would eventually just move completely online, this pandemic has simply sped up the process, with galleries temporarily closing and limited physical interaction. Our financial funds are at an all time low as many artists have lost work due to the global lock in (I like to call it a lock in because it makes it sound like we have all decided to hibernate inside for a few months with cups of tea), which would usually have paid for studio rent n artist fees etc. In the past few days I have seen a surge in call outs for online publications n platforms to share work n for artists to engage with one another. I even saw one post that was offering skills in sketch up to make digital versions of students’ degree shows. A splurge of solidarity in these uncertain times.
Whilst we are cuming all over our insta’s in a pure state of digital artistic bliss, we must remember, however, that some of us will be forced to stop making art. I’ve already been having existential crisis’ over how to make a living so I can move out of my dysfunctional family home, and now being on unpaid leave, I don’t have a foreseeable opportunity to do this. Being #triggered (for real tho bc having PTSD and getting triggered is a legit thing n not in the same way Emma Chamberlain might say it) doesn’t give you a lot of mental or emotional energy to make work. And being in an internal state of chaos, does not, in fact, help sustain an artistic practice, contrary to what single-men-who-wear-backpacks-and-are-too-busy-building-their-career would have you believe. Some of my friends are too busy worrying about whether they will be evicted from their flat now that they have lost their job to continue making work, and instead are applying for jobs at Sainsbury’s. So, whilst I know it is rly sad that you might not have a physical degree show (honestly, I would be having daily panic attacks if this had happened a year ago) and you weren’t able to give that workshop you wanted to at that gallery next month, please remember that a lot of us have been facing daily challenges to make our practices work for a long time, and so this isn’t necessarily a new situation to us. I think now is a time to be grateful to have a roof over your head, food on the table, and in an emotionally and physically safe environment (if you do have these things).
The pandemic will inevitable impact the way the art world works, for better or for worse, whether, once this is ‘over’, we will completely revert and there is a move towards physical work in physical spaces, kind of like when you start smoking again after a week off n go a bit crazy, or, we will all stay comfortably in the confines of our own homes and continue to engage with one another in a mostly digital fashion, illuminated by the glow of playing on our old Nintendo’s. What we can count on tho, is that the white man will continue to make white man art.