Artist Notes from a Pandemic

CAM exhibiting artists, past, present, and future talk about getting along through the crisis.

Liz Johnson Artur

Liz Johnson Artur takes photographs of people as a means toward connection. As viewers of the photographs, we connect with the people in the pictures. These connections are powerful—one human being, a group of human beings, linked to each other in the space of a museum. A tension holds us together, a gravity of desire.

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Stephanie Syjuco's at-home work table

Stephanie Syjuco

Not long into our phone conversation, Stephanie Syjuco tells me: “My parents are in the Philippines, a developing country that’s going to be hit very hard. Working on my own artwork, right now, it feels rather insignificant. This sounds like a harsh way to say it, but that’s not where I want to put my energy.”

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Christine Corday. Photo: Abby Gillardi.

Christine Corday

“I’m talking about how art finds a way.”

Christine Corday is in her studio about an hour-and-a-half north of New York City, and only half-an-hour away from Westchester County, the location of the original coronavirus epicenter in New York.

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Courtesy Marina Zurkow.

Marina Zurkow

When everything stopped, Marina Zurkow was teaching social practice and art at Bennington College, in Vermont. In her imagination, Zurkow’s Brooklyn studio is a “sad little empty place,” although in reality she has given another artist access. Zurkow remains in Vermont, in a Bennington dorm room. Outside “nature is tense, just about to erupt into glory.”

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Tim Youd prepares for <em>The Tunnel</em> in his LA garage. Courtesy the artist.

Tim Youd

Tim Youd knows what he’ll be doing for the next month of COVID. “For me,” he says from his Los Angeles home, “it’s a compulsion to make art, and I’m very grateful to have a chance to devote myself to my compulsion—re-typing one novel for a month.”

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Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Even though CAM has been closed since March, a conversation with Paul Mpagi Sepuya makes me think even more about exhibitions without an audience.

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Bethany Collins. Courtesy the artist.

Bethany Collins

Bethany Collins moved from one part of Chicago to another in March. “Moving day during a pandemic is definitely worse,” she tells me.

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Kahlil Robert Irving submitted this image to represent his current situation.

Kahlil Robert Irving

“Whoever taught you to live with expectations?… Nothing is new.”

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Rachel Youn with bass. Courtesy the artist.

Rachel Youn

In the realm of unproductiveness, Youn has taken up fishing. “It’s Ryan’s fault.”

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Photo courtesy Tim Portlock.

Tim Portlock

“The whole thing got weird the weekend before spring break,” Tim Portlock begins

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