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.
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.”
“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.
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.”
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.”
Even though CAM has been closed since March, a conversation with Paul Mpagi Sepuya makes me think even more about exhibitions without an audience.
Bethany Collins moved from one part of Chicago to another in March. “Moving day during a pandemic is definitely worse,” she tells me.