Our lives have been forever changed by COVID-19. As of today, there’s 131,536 cases throughout America. California is currently in a shelter-in-place to flatten the curve. While other states ignore science and reality to appease a President’s ego. Artists must continue to create during these challenging times.
In February, I created TREMENDOUS SUCCESS. That seems like a year ago. Description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. Donald J. Trump’s constant gaslighting, lies, exaggerations, and false promises have dangerous consequences. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across America: healthcare supplies like masks, gloves, ventilators, ICU beds, and tests remain in short supply. On February 27th, Trump stated in regards to the crisis: “…And again, we’ve had tremendous success. Tremendous success, beyond what people would have thought.” Like the plague, TREMENDOUS SUCCESS spreads across a black face mask. Denial, incompetence, and blame will only lead to unnecessary fatalities.
Success means supporting artists and institutions during times of crisis. In Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and Hammer Museum will layoff a combined 247 employees. According to Sarah Hotchkiss of KQED: “On Friday, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced major reductions in staffing to lessen its expenses during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 135 on-call staff who have been paid for canceled work since the museum’s closure to the public on March 14 will be laid off on April 9. Nearly 200 regular staff will be furloughed or have their schedules reduced beginning May 1. The museum expects to be closed to the public through at least the end of June.”
According to The Mercury News: “Three of the Bay Area’s Fortune 500 companies — Chevron, Netflix and Salesforce — paid no federal taxes in 2018, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank. Chevron and Netflix together got more than $200 million in tax rebates.”
Tremendous success is paying your fair share and perhaps supporting critical cultural institutions in times of crisis?
I’ve had numerous exhibitions cancel events and reschedule openings. COVID-19 controls the calendar and securing the health of our communities is top priority. Everything has changed and this is the new normal. Artists will lead in rebuilding structures during and after the pandemic.