In the last twenty years, there’s been the dot-com bubble, the 2008 financial crisis, and now the Greater Depression. Since the beginning of time, artists try to adapt, create, and survive. The Covid-19 pandemic highlights systematic failures and with collapse, we can rebuild the future. Art remains certain in uncertain times.
According to the White House website: “The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.”
Does the Constitution really protect us all?
VOID description: My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. A National Archives reproduction of the U.S. Constitution has been updated to reflect an altered democracy. The Preamble states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” On February 4th, 2020, Donald J. Trump was acquitted in a “trial” without witnesses protected by a wall of sycophants. When an unchecked pandemic president is allowed to obstruct, ignore subpoenas, and solicit foreign election interference: words in the constitution bind together an empty contract. Like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the word VOID spans the chest of the constitution’s pages absolving truth into a system built on racism and sexism. Citizens (disposable commodities) become sacrificed to protect party and power.
My artistic voice is one of many. Organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts has a comprehensive resource list during this time (https://www.arts.gov/covid-19-resources-for-artists-and-arts-organizations). Online art directories like artnet news posted nationwide and regional resources in Are You an Artist in Need of Aid? Here Are Dozens of Emergency Grants, Medical Funds, and Other Resources to Help (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/artist-aid-resources-during-coronavirus-1828860). From article: “The recent global health crisis has left the art world in an uncertain lurch as galleries and museums shutter and artists see their exhibitions canceled or postponed. In this uncharted territory, many in the industry are feeling uncertain about their financial paths forward—particularly artists, who often work without the safety net of unemployment benefits or even health insurance.”
Resources and venues might evaporate but artists will remain. We’re resilient and not going anywhere. Artists are going to lead and rebuild. From the incredible Bryan Stevenson: “We all have a responsibility to create a just society.”