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Mann Art Gallery introduces virtual programing during COVID-19 shutdown – Prince Albert Daily Herald

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Photo from the Mann Art Gallery Facebook page.

With public
facilities closed for the foreseeable future, Prince Albert’s Mann Art Gallery
is finding new and creative ways to connect with art lovers.

Starting today,
Gallery employees will host a daily virtual programming series live on YouTube
and Facebook. The series will run for the next two weeks.

Mann Art
Gallery acting director and curator Lana Wilson said they’ve cancelled or
rescheduled a number of programs and exhibitions. She hopes these virtual
programs will help fill that void.

“You can’t
stop people from making art,” Wilson said during an interview on Monday. “We
will always enjoy seeing the art that is out there. We can just enjoy it in a
new way now.”

The virtual
programs include an art appreciation discussion on Tuesday, a live art activity
for children on Wednesday and a Mann Art Gallery collection discussion on
Thursday. The Friday program will be a sketchbook/journal theme of the week, in
which viewers are encouraged to create a piece of art based on the theme, then
post it on Facebook or Instagram.

“Hopefully
it’s going to engage (people) across the many different demographics and appeal
to the different interests of our members, while also supporting the things
that the Mann Art Gallery does best,” Wilson explained.

Staff
members have been looking for ways to boost the gallery’s social media presence
for a while, but the current program ideas didn’t come into place until the
government-mandated COVID-19 shutdown. They were pleasantly surprised at how
well-received Friday’s Facebook live announcement of the Winter Festival Art
Show and Sale winner, which inspired them to look at new ways to connect with
their audience.

Wilson said
artists and art lovers value face-to-face interaction, something that smaller
walk-in galleries like the Mann Art Gallery excel at. Moving those interactions
online is going to be a challenge, but she’s confident it will prove popular.

“We’re
still here, we’re still working and we can have art continue to inspire us,”
she said. “There’s a way to connect with the Mann Art Gallery, with art
activities, with art education opportunities, and with local artists … even
when we’re closed. I think that idea of maintaining connection with our members
during these difficult times is the primary goal of this current social media
experiment.”

If they
prove popular, gallery staff may continue the live virtual programs after the
COVID-19 outbreak ends. Wilson said it likely won’t be as intensive a schedule,
so art lovers can’t expect virtual programming every day, but they’re open to
doing the occasional live video on YouTube or Facebook.

“Hopefully
this will be really successful experiment,” she said. “Certainly, we’ll be
maintaining that goal of increasing our social media presence. I can’t promise
that all of these things will continue, but at the moment, I think it’s a great
way for us to be spending our time.”

“This is very new,” she added. “I hope people will stick with us.”

Mann Art Gallery virtual programming schedule

Monday: Posting of art created over
the weekend and upcoming program topics.

Tuesday: Art Appreciation Discussion with Acting Director/Curator Lana Wilson,
live on YouTube, 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday: “Danie’s Hive of Creativity,” an Art Activity for Children with
Acting Educator Danielle Castle, video tutorial with supplies lists and
templates, Wednesday morning on YouTube with FB and Instagram image galleries.

Thursday: Mann Art Gallery Collections / Vault Discussion with Registrar Tia
Furstenberg, video, some Q&A, on YouTube, cross posting to FB and Instagram.
Thursday afternoon, 3:00 p.m.

Friday: Sketchbook / Art Journal Theme of the Week announced by rotating
staff. We will give you (and each other) an art theme to make art or journal
about, and then share the results on Monday’s and throughout the week. At least
1 staff member will make art about the theme and post it on Monday on FB and
Instagram. We want to see what you make, too! For children, teens and adults.
Theme announced at 10:00 a.m.

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'We made it': Art City planning future made-at-home art exhibit – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Winnipeg’s Art City is palnning a future art exhibition that will feature artwork made at home during the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba.

The exhibition titled “WE MADE IT!” is meant to get the community to look forward to a time when we can come together once again, said Art City in a press release.

The organization believes it will also give people the opportunity to see each others experiences during this time through the artwork.

Art City said it will continue to release its monthly calendars with ideas for art projects to do at home.

Some of the themes included thank-you art for essential workers, self-portraits and portraits others in your home, and bringing to life inanimate objects.

More information and other ideas on how to create art at home can be found on Art City’s website

Art City told CTV News it can drop off basic art supplies for participants who need it.

Submissions can be sent by email to info@artcityinc.com or on Instargam @artcityinc.

-With files from CTV’s Jeremie Charron

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Isolation art: recreate masterworks with cabbage, lentils and socks – National Post

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MOSCOW — While making blinis one morning in self-isolation, Natalia Goroshko noticed one in her pan had taken the floppy form of one of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks.

The 31-year-old Belarusian living in Texas placed three blinis in her kitchen to match their position in the Dali painting, then photographed and posted her creation in a Russian-language Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/izoizolyacia encouraging members to reproduce famous artworks with items found at home.

Created last week, “Izoizolyacia” – or Art Isolation – now has more than 300,000 members and a flurry of posts that include Edvard Munch’s “Scream” made of slippers and clothes, and Kazimir Malevich’s “Black Square” composed of socks hanging from a towel rack.

Some participants have also dressed themselves and family members in elaborate costumes — or shed layers — to reproduce portraits of the past with varying degrees of accuracy.

“There is lots of free time now and I loved how people were starting to become absorbed by art,” said Goroshko, a mother of two who has a background in graphic design and photography.

The Russian-language Facebook group joins similar online initiatives, including a Dutch Instagram account with 155,000 followers, that have encouraged people in quarantine to channel their artistic talents to recreate masterpieces.

Muscovite Yulia Tabolkina, a painting enthusiast, swapped her brushes and palette for whatever she could find in the pantry to create her own versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Munch’s “Scream.”

She used lentils, buckwheat, beans and other food items to produce different shades and used her windowsill as a canvas.

“It really helps to keep morale up during these times because people are at home and it’s tough for them,” said the 33-year-old, who spent about an hour on each of her creations. “This group helps cheer them up.”

In the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, Olesia Marchenko recreated Henri Matisse’s “Dance,” which features five crimson nude dancers holding hands in a circle against a green landscape and a dark blue sky, with sausages, red cabbage and spinach leaves.

“I experienced a burst of emotion of the kind we have not been feeling because all countries are in quarantine to some degree,” the 50-year-old psychologist and photography aficionado said about the initiative.

“Any activity is great right now, whatever it may be.” (Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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What Can We Learn From the Art of Pandemics Past? – The New York Times

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When the pandemic hit, we began gathering around the hearths of our screens, for news, or in solidarity with friends and family, for the cold solace of a cocktail-hour booze-Zoom, even for preschool, the grid of domestic scenes and small, hopeful faces meant to relieve us of our isolation somehow only succeeding in reinforcing it. (Even those of us who tend naturally toward solitary endeavors find ourselves running low on interiority these days.) Under normal circumstances, illness is a largely private event; even a common disease is suffered individually. But a pandemic isolates us collectively, as the grid illustrates almost too perfectly; we aren’t alone in our loneliness. When we Zoom, we “connect” along our metaphoric edges. We’ve existed in such grids for a while without really acknowledging it, one might argue, imprisoned in our small geometries of perspective. Grid life seems all too easy a metaphor for a society stripped bare, exposed for what it has become. But that’s the thing about the grid; live with it long enough and one forgets it’s there, until the next catastrophe.

We will all have our own metaphors and images to make meaning of this time: art or reportage or our own witnessing, the visuals that endure, reflecting us back to ourselves. We don’t yet have the image, the one that stands for everything that went wrong — the equivalent of the little migrant girl weeping as her mother is arrested, or the young black woman in a flowing dress holding her hands out to a mass of advancing policemen. It seems important that the most potent images of this time thus far have showed us what our world looks like without us in it: New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. Paris’s Place de la Concorde. Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. The streets of Wuhan, a city of millions, emptied out. The Manhattan skyline slowly dimming as office buildings switch off their lights. The eerie images of abandoned thoroughfares hit us hard because they show us a glimpse of a possible future, a post-human universe, the built world without those who built it.

Illness is, of course, all about the body, but what has been notable to me in the visuals of the past month is an absence of bodies. We see evidence of them: the countless coffins in Italy headed for the crematory; a pop-up field hospital in Manhattan’s Central Park, with its endless rows of waiting beds; exterior shots of the Spanish ice rink turned morgue; the satellite footage from Iran of mass graves. Those bodies we do see are obscured, on stretchers, encased in masses of translucent plastic sheeting. We know there’s someone alive inside, breathing with a ventilator; the image is terrible in its suffocating solitude. These pictures remind me of Thomas Struth’s photograph of a high-tech surgical theater, “Figure, Charité, Berlin, 2012,” the living person depicted — his or her identity and humanity — incidental (and yet still essential) to the image itself.

Often it’s the unseen terrors that provoke the imagination. The invisibility of the virus (under a microscope, it resembles a malevolent cat toy) leads one to think about the many perils of our late capitalist age that were initially invisible to us, from the nuclear contamination of Fukushima to the tainted water in Flint, Mich., but also things like apathy and oppression, perversity and regressive fear, the kinds of things it inevitably falls to the teachers and artists and journalists to try, often futilely, to make us see and react to. Art, like clean water and access to quality health care, is a marker of civilized society, which is maybe why, of all the doomsday imagery playing in my head right now, it’s a scene from Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film “Children of Men,” adapted from the 1992 P. D. James novel, that’s the most vivid. It is 2027, infertility is the medical scourge of the day, and society is in chaos. Clive Owen’s character visits his cousin, an art-hoarding cultural minister, in the quiet chill of his guarded London home: Michelangelo’s “David,” missing its lower leg, stands in his entryway; Picasso’s “Guernica” hangs over the dining table. Decontextualized, the art is meaningless, the grossest of status markers. “I just don’t think about it,” the bureaucrat says, asked what he gets from surrounding himself with such works, given that no one will live to see them.

Susan Sontag warned us off thinking about and describing illness metaphorically, first in her landmark 1978 essay “Illness as Metaphor,” inspired by her own experience with cancer, then in its 1989 follow-up, “AIDS and Its Metaphors.” In both, she addresses the punitive charge we bring to the language we use to describe certain sicknesses and how we ascribe a moral laxity to those who suffer from them (for Sontag, the very word “plague” is a distortion suggesting a kind of biblical judgment on society). Illness, she explains, comes to stand for the fears of the day — in the case of AIDS, which killed 18,000 people in the United States alone, it was the fear of sex, particularly homosexuality. The early days of Covid-19 — “the Chinese virus,” as our hapless, xenophobic president has called it — dovetailed neatly with one of Trump’s favorite tropes, a fear of immigrants and foreigners. Metaphors have a way of depersonalizing, dehumanizing. And yet, metaphors help us to envision abstract ideas. Albert Camus (“The Plague,” 1947), José Saramago (“Blindness,” 1995) and, more recently, Ling Ma (“Severance,” 2018) have all used contagion as a metaphor for the irrevocable infectiousness of repressive groupthink. For those of us finding it hard not to think of Covid-19 as a judgment on American arrogance, it’s a metaphorical readymade.

Credit…Photo by Clare Gemima
Credit…Courtesy of Raptis Rare Books

Maybe we prefer our illnesses as metaphors because the physically sick body itself is so distressing and confining, the antithesis of the rigorous, unbound creative mind. Lovers have Shakespeare, Donne and Keats, but for headache sufferers, “language at once runs dry,” Virginia Woolf wrote in her 1926 essay “On Being Ill.” “Novels, one would have thought, would have been devoted to influenza; epic poems to typhoid; odes to pneumonia, lyrics to toothache.” Woolf, who had witnessed the Spanish flu that killed millions worldwide, made the titular heroine of her 1925 novel “Mrs. Dalloway” an influenza survivor embracing life and togetherness with flowers and friendship and a dinner party. After so much trauma, Woolf understood what it meant, this coming together of shell-shocked survivors of the 20th century. “This late age of the world’s experience had bred in them all, all men and women, a well of tears,” Mrs. Dalloway reflects. “Tears and sorrows; courage and endurance; a perfectly upright and stoical bearing.”

In that description I can also see those terrifically eloquent selfies of medical workers at the end of their shifts, the doctors and nurses and volunteers treating patients, their exhausted faces striped red where goggles have cut into their skin, eyes that have seen too much. The era of the coronavirus selfie, ushered in by Tom Hanks, one of the first boldface names to test positive for the disease, has an illustrious pedigree, as it turns out. Edvard Munch’s 1919 “Self-Portrait After the Spanish Flu” captures the jaundiced isolation and hollow face. Munch survived the flu, but Gustav Klimt, whose face Egon Schiele sketched on his deathbed in 1918, did not; nor did Schiele, whose 1918 portrait “The Family,” a future vision of himself and his wife with the child they were expecting, turned out to be his last: Schiele’s pregnant wife died later that fall, three days before the painter did.

A marked silence surrounds illness in our culture, and yet it was always there, buried in our cultural consciousness, long before the advent of photography, in concepts that illustrate our sense of death’s inevitability — motifs that act almost as woodcuts of the mind, such as the Danse Macabre, or the Grim Reaper, connecting us across time with the living and the dead. As children, we join hands and chant “Ring-around-the-rosy” without understanding its possibly deadly message, sent by other children, witnesses to the bubonic plague over a century ago. Illness is written into the imagery of our greatest poetry — “I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat and snicker, and in short, I was afraid,” T. S. Eliot wrote in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915). It can be found in this spring’s unexpectedly resonant literary hits, back-ordered on Amazon: Giovanni Boccaccio’s “The Decameron” (1353), in which a group of Florentines flee the plague-infested city, telling stories to entertain themselves, and Daniel Defoe’s “Journal of a Plague Year,” a fictional account of London’s 1665 epidemic of the same plague. (The bubonic plague, a.k.a. Black Death, killed so many millions of people, in so many different waves of infection, history lost count.) The numbers reported in the weekly Bills of Death were low at first, Defoe writes, but then grew exponentially. The wealthy fled the city.

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Class critique is often implicit in depictions of plagues past, though the human body — vulnerable, biological — is the great leveler, up to a certain point: in Pieter Breugel the Elder’s epic 1562 painting “The Triumph of Death,” an army of skeletons wreaks havoc upon a town’s inhabitants, and doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor. In Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story “The Masque of the Red Death,” aristocratic partygoers seclude themselves for a masquerade ball only to find in attendance the masked pestilence itself; the story was inspired by the poet and journalist Heinrich Heine’s eyewitness account of a Paris society party a decade before, during a cholera outbreak that killed 18,000 people and marked the beginning of modern epidemiology. “Suddenly the merriest of the harlequins felt a chill in his legs, took off his mask, and to the amazement of all revealed a violet-blue face,” wrote Heine. “It was soon discovered that this was no joke; the laughter died, and several wagon loads were driven directly from the ball to the Hotel-Dieu, the main hospital, where they arrived in their gaudy fancy dress and promptly died, too.” Crucially, Poe wrote his story in poverty in Baltimore after being disinherited by his wealthy stepfather and while his wife was dying of tuberculosis.

It is often said that AIDS changed art forever in its critique of the Reagan-era fog of silence. The art of AIDS was bold and brash and often overtly political, sparking debates about federal arts funding and censorship, and it didn’t flinch from the realities of the body: See Andres Serrano’s photographs of bodily fluids, including his 1990 “Blood and Semen V,” or Jenny Holzer’s 1983-85 series of condoms emblazoned with safe-sex messages like “Expiring for love is beautiful but stupid.” It seems important that one of the earliest artworks to address the AIDS crisis (created before the illness even had a name), Izhar Patkin’s 1981 painting “Unveiling of a Modern Chastity,” features crater-like sores made of latex and liquid rubber, conjuring the lesions, known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, suffered by AIDS patients. We tend to forget that some art from this time could be lyrical, too, like Nan Goldin’s haunting portraits of her friends, a couple named Gilles and Gotcho, taken before and after Gilles contracted HIV. But the image I tend to remember from this time appeared in, of all things, a Benetton ad: Therese Frare’s 1990 pietà-like photograph of a gaunt young man on his deathbed, surrounded by his grieving family. The fashion label’s appropriation and reworking of the almost unbearably intimate image — the black-and-white original had appeared in a more reportorial context in Life magazine — was understandably denounced by gay rights organizations at the time. Today, the ad is widely seen as a landmark in the history of AIDS imagery, an important humanizing and mainstreaming of a disease that had been previously seen as distant and selective.

We don’t know yet what life will look like after we emerge from our grids, but surely this time has already changed us in all kinds of ways we can’t see yet. Covid-19 is anything but distant and selective: None of us really has the luxury of opting out, of just not thinking about it. The 2020 pandemic will change the way we see art forever, too, and artists and writers have already begun doing the work of illuminating new shifts and losses, documenting the small kindnesses and cruelties, the large failures of leadership, technology and society. One thing seems certain: We will never look at ourselves as a culture in the same way again. “When has any such thing been even heard or seen; in what annals has it ever been read that houses were left vacant, cities deserted, the country neglected, the fields too small for the dead and a fearful and universal solitude over the whole earth?” the poet Petrarch wrote to his brother in 1348 as the plague raged in Europe, having received word of the death of his beloved, Laura. “Oh happy people of the future, who have not known these miseries and perchance will class our testimony with the fables.”

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