The importance of the role of art during a pandemic – Art will go on. It always has. All we know is that everything is different; we don’t know how, only that it is.
The unimaginable is now reality, ”is a quote that comes from Jerry Saltz, an art critic and columnist Galerie xxl for Ceko magazine as he writes about the position of the art world in the midst of this pandemic.
Like the music industry, the art world has also certainly been hit hard by this global climate, seen from the closure of galleries and museums to exhibitions and art fairs that had to be canceled.
However, even in this situation they can look for new gaps to remain in the public eye, one of which is the virtual museum tour which is now being adopted by foreign museums such as the Guggenheim, Musée d’Orsay, and the Rijksmuseum.
Seeing this, we talked with curators and local artists about what can be done to keep the art industry going, art appreciation and the role of art in the midst of a pandemic.
The importance of the role of art during a pandemic
Our contemporary art activities are closely connected with other countries both regionally and internationally. As we know, countries that have large funding for the arts and often involve artists from Indonesia are currently battling a pandemic.
If this condition is prolonged, of course the most visible impact is the lack of art activity and the involvement of Indonesian art actors in international forums.
In a global context, with the absence of museum activities, art festivals (biennale, triennale), and art fairs, of course, the natural “survival” mechanism of art actors will be affected.
If that continues, I think the only thing that can be done is for the state to establish a policy of stimulus financing for art actors so that the arts ecosystem, at least, can be maintained.
What can artists, curators, or figures in the local art world do to keep this industry going?
We as arts workers need to build strong solidarity in order to maintain this industry. As we all know, we as artistic workers are one of the precarious types of workers.
I currently work in an institution, but some of my curators and artists work independently. Several other creative workers work on projects, which are also a lot delayed at this time.
Until now there has been no specific joint strategy in responding to this situation, but I am sure that in the near future there will be initiatives that seek to build solidarity among fellow arts workers.
What is the role and relevance of art in these times of the pandemic?
If we look at the history, from the first and second World Wars and even before, there has been a pandemic like this. From that period, many new arts emerged in other forms, or even offered other social issues.
The relevance in my opinion is no longer only through the medium, but seeing it in broad terms. How is the result of reshaping new forms offered in creative logic or art or even cultural logic.
That these logics will be shown from another point of view. For example, when we talk about films, will feature films be relevant now? If this situation is prolonged, short films will become relevant.
However, when it comes to the logic of art, there may no longer be any great works. Because everyone has to stay at home, they prefer to make small works that can also be digitized or even made digitally. When it comes to relevance, I think there should be offers like that.
If we go back to the logic of history, art has actually been forged with things like pandemics and has survived. Because they have found other ways.
As museums have now moved to digital logic with the virtual gallery. Because they had to close down, they thought about how to stay in the community.
There are things that need to be considered, such as the matter of collecting how to make it properly and correctly so that it can be used by a team of doctors.
From here, actually we don’t just see how to make things work, but how we deal with this situation in our own way. So for me the relevance is quite a tug of war, from through the work to how to but through how to deal with this social context as well.
See you next time.