Art in the Time of Corona

Brittany Rodriguez (Neuroscience, Brooklyn College, ’22)

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the world brought to a standstill. Aside from the frustration of quarantine, isolation itself brings its own challenges. Work, school, and other services have been transferred online, and we must find ways to occupy ourselves from within the safety of our own homes.

Without the company of family, friends, co-workers, and peers – and without access to theaters, gyms, houses of worship or various other comforts – the threats to mental health must also be considered alongside the threats posed by the virus. Luckily, the human race is stubborn and, in the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Life finds a way.”

One such way can be found in the art world. While artists of all disciplines are confined to their homes, many have poured their creativity into the virtual world in an effort to continue their professions and spread positivity. Virtual photography has found a niche home on Instagram in accounts like GamerGram, where photographers and gamers alike are capturing still shots within online environments that range from virtual tours to video games. Classical artists are performing worldwide solo live streams on YouTube; cellist Stjepan Hauser performed “Alone, Together” from an empty Arena Pula in tribute to the front line workers currently holding society together.

It’s not just individual artists either. The original Hamilton cast — many of whom left the production in 2016-2017 – surprised a young fan with a personal performance via Zoom to lift her spirits, while the original cast of Dear Evan Hansen performed “You Will Be Found” via James Corden’s remote Late Late Show.

We are all eagerly awaiting escape from the confines of our homes, but until then, all of us have the privilege of interacting with art in its many forms without leaving our respective four walls.