The Covid Art Museum: art in the time of coronavirus

Three Barcelona advertising creatives have set up the first virtual gallery dedicated to work born in confinement and quarantine

Screenshot of the Covid Art Museum Instagram page
Screenshot of the Covid Art Museum Instagram page / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 7, 2020 01:08 PM

Even though more than half of the world’s population are confined to their homes in attempt to stop the spread of the covid-19 coronavirus, the world of art does not stop. 

Artists across the globe, like the rest of us, are locked up in their own home, and fighting boredom, anxiety, and cabin fever that comes with this era of confinement. 

Some have drawn inspiration from these surreal days we’re living in in 2020, and have set upon reframing their work around the coronavirus crisis we’re all going through. 

Thus, three advertising creatives from Barcelona have set up a virtual art museum - The Covid Art Museum. An Instagram page bringing together works from artists around the world that were all born out of quarantine. 

Themes such as isolation, toilet paper, hand washing, and the virus itself feature commonly in the pieces. Face masks, balconies, fear, and hope are also strongly represented in the illustrations, photographs, animations, videos, and paintings.

"Art is a great way to express feelings, and it's important to know how people are feeling at the moment and how they are expressing it," Emma Calvo, one of the project's promoters, told the Catalan News Agency.

"We thought it would be very interesting to put together all the art that is being created and archive it to tell us how people are feeling, right now and in the future," Calvo explains.

Anybody from around the world is able to submit a piece for publication. They receive around fifty proposals every day from around the world and seek out some international artists whom they consider essential for the museum.

They are collected through the hashtag #CovidArtMuseum or via email. "Some people take it very positively, others have a more catastrophic outlook. But two artists from two very different places in the world can share a similar outlook," Calvo says about the universality of art and the global phenomenon that is alive.

Visibility, expression, and entertainment

The Covid Art Museum’s main priority is to give visibility to artists. "Everything suggests that there is going to be a pretty big economic crisis after this. If we don't help each other and give each other a bit of visibility, I don't think anyone else will," the publicist reasons.

The project also serves as an archive of artistic and, consequently, sentimental expressions. "There is a lot of talk about affect at the economic and health levels, but at the artistic and sentimental level, we believe that art is a great way to express feelings.” 

Some creators use the context in which they created the work, as is the case with a 70-year-old man who had been left home alone, and painting served as an escape route.

In addition, it also serves as entertainment for the general public during the quarantine. "There are a lot of artists who talk about more everyday topics, like the extra time you can spend with their children, and they get entertained," says Calvo.

The project's coordinators are determined to be able to move some of the works collected during weeks of confinement to a physical exhibition, at one point in the future. In addition, they plan to make a free e-book so that they can consult all the works. 

"At some point, this will fortunately end, and also in the art world we will stop considering works inspired by covid-19, because there will be other subjects," reflects Calvo. The pandemic has, for the mean time at least, has set the stage for many artists and creators.