What the hell just happened? Has it been a year? Or has it been 10 years? Or just one long nightmare/daymare? Or has it been 10 years? Did we already ask that?
In March 2020 we awoke to a world that was transforming before all of our eyes, yet we felt so cut-off from it and each other. The first days seem so long ago as we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic. Still, the initial shock of those days resonates in our chests so strongly that we confidently talk about a collective global trauma that has indelibly marked a generation.
From Stockholm to Mexico City to Barcelona to Bethlehem to New York to LA, BSA brought you street art that was responding with fear, derision, critique, hope, and humor to the never-static, always evolving barrage of Covid news. Stuck inside and afraid to expose ourselves to each other, we New Yorkers became accustomed to experiencing the outdoors only through our windows, connecting with neighbors we’ve never met who were also banging pots and pans or clapping and waving and yelling.
We listened to ambulances screaming past our windows every half hour or so during those first weeks, imagining the torn families, the terrified fellow New Yorkers now being rushed to the hospital and separated from their loved ones without a goodbye, gasping for air. We wondered if we would be next.
When we did go to the streets, they were empty – or nearly. In New York this was unheard of. In this bustling, noisy metropolis, we experienced a daily disconcerting quiet. That is, until the killing of George Floyd by cops finally pushed the anger/anxiety into the streets all summer.
The deadly hotspot of New York quelled, but the fires of Covid spread west, grabbing communities who thought they would avoid impact. At the same time, local, state, and national leaders fumbled and argued or famously callously ignored the desperation of citizens, occasionally admirably filling the shoes they were elected to occupy, often misstepping through no fault of their own.
We have no particular wisdom to offer you today beyond the obvious; this pandemic laid bare inequity, social and racial and class fault-lines, the shredded social net, the effect of institutional negligence, the ravages of 40 years of corporate privatization, and the power of community rising to the occasion to be in service to one another in ways that made us all more than proud.
Here are some of our favorite Covid-themed street art pieces from over the last year, a mere sampling of the artistic responses. Interspersed we paste screenshots of the daily events (via Wikipedia) in 2020 that shaped our lives, and our society.
We mourn the losses of family and friends and the broken hearts and minds in all of our communities. And we still believe in the power of art to heal and the power of love to balance our asymmetries.
As NYC went on complete lock-down and New Yorkers were ordered to remain in their homes in complete isolation the city’s residents organically joined together in a collective 7:00 pm ritual in support to the first responders. To the nurses, doctors, paramedics, trash collectors, public transportation, police, fire fighters, supermarkets workers etc…with their services and sacrifices we, the residents of this megalopolis were able to keep out hopes for brighter days to come.
Video of four former presidents urging people to “roll up your sleeve and do your part” and get the vaccine.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week and welcome to summer in NYC here on its 2nd day. Also Happy Father’s Day in the US.
Juneteenth. White Fragility.Defund the Police. How to Be an Antiracist. All of these new terms and phrases erupting on the main stage of the public lexicon today speak to a fundamental disgust with the system that’s been in effect. As uncomfortable as it may be, our better selves know that the conversations and changes that have started are vitally necessary to have if we ever want to move forward as a society.
Right now in New York people are marching, protesting, drinking on the street, setting off fireworks, and holding doors open for one another with a new sensitivity thanks to internal bruising. We also see people disregarding safety precautions in the spread of Covid-19, and honking their car horns more often.
Here are new pieces on street walls from the Street Artist named #Tag in Israel, who is interpreting art-world and TV icons through the lense of the current Covid-19 crises. With new pieces on the street in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and Jaffa, these three are as international as they are local.
Brooklyn Street Art: Has it been difficult to do work on the street, or has it been easier? #Tag: I will describe it more like weird. I pasted all the three works at the beginning of the Coronavirus in Israel. I think after the Breaking Bad work, a few days after, the quarantine started. In general, it was kind of the same, but a weird feeling in general, like literally the virus was in the air.
Brooklyn Street Art: What do you hope people will experience when they discover your work? #Tag: In general all my messages are meant with a sense of humor. I believe that art should deliver positive messages but not necessarily in an obvious way. I saw that that’s exactly what happened with my works, from things people have said on social media, and I am very happy about that. During these days we need to stay positive, and after almost a full quarantine I started to create digital works and use Facebook / Instagram as my digital wall 🙂