Flattening the Global World: Art During Crisis
Dear Students and Colleagues,
I am sure you are all suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, uncertainties about your loved ones, and what opportunities will be available to you after the next wave of the global pandemic. Each generation is faced with particular problems that must be solved through persistence and innovation. The nature of time, as we are experiencing now is of a different scale. Sometimes it is easy to forget what day it is as we hunker down in our private spaces and try to cope with the conditions at large. Time is no longer linear, with clear-cut divisions, even if our clocks record it as such.
I wish to congratulate all of you who have made the best of a situation requiring fortitude and commitment under the dark skies that surround us. A lesson to be learned is our capacities to believe that this condition will one day change. When and where and how our lives will be altered is an unknown and as artists, we are lucky that we can work well in solitude. The winter is coming with a new wave of infections and we are all at extreme risk once again. At other times in history, diseases carried metaphors depicting behavior, race or even personality type. This has been true for AIDS, Bubonic Plague, tuberculosis and even cancer. A full account of this concept is explained in the book Illness As Metaphor by Susan Sontag. As of now we have a computer generated symbol of a spherical form with protruding spikes as a recognizable image of COVID-19 which is not enough to understand the emergence of the disease.
Many of the works in the exhibition deal with social justice, death, the natural world and gender discrimination, all concepts relevant to our time in history. Others still follow the trajectories led by the history of art as expressions of new techniques, domestic life and symbolic form.
All in all, you have your calling and on behalf of the faculty and staff of the Fine Arts Department, we wish you good furtune in your next endeavors.
– Suzanne Anker, Chair
BFA Fine Arts. School of Visual Arts, NYC