Unmask. A study of pandemic form.
Last January, our school canceled classes, we went into quarantine. As the days and news dragged, ambulances screamed late into the night, Brooklyn and the Bronx were hard hit with Corona, as our spread and death counts soared.
I often thought about my students, their health, sanity, and what kinds of things were they making or not. If being quarantined was stressful for adults, I couldn’t imagine what kids in lockdown must be going through.
Then came the riots - so much distrust with the structural and racist systems in place. Shops boarded up. People marched day and night, the police and their helicopters took to the streets and air. Black Lives Matter, and so do Latino, indigenous, and the lives of countless others. The media cacophony was deafening as the collective we yelled, screamed, and raged against real and perceived social and political inequities.
By July, New York’s death count stabilized. We made headway into a flattened curve, and so did our spirits in the wake of devastating loss. Against this backdrop, I was tasked to develop an online class curriculum for the Fall.
The work would also have to engage parents as supervisors. I accepted the challenge and ran with it, it's why I teach art.
Soon, I will be teaching virtual classes, this time we will be building a city out of cardboard. As New York struggles with how to reactivate one of the largest school systems in the nation, my students will be busy building and making.
Over the trajectory of this pandemic, I've debated how can artists respond or create in the wake of so much pain and loss? How do we stay relevant and make work that isn’t about decorating living rooms or gallery walls? These are questions central to my art practice, as well as the use of the found, situated and discarded.