The Changing Artistic Landscape

David Hockney’s application of photography

Suddenly we have a lot of time to take in art and we’re poised at the edge of a crater.

There will be a gap of some months for television shows and movies, due to the hit that coronavirus has had on any art requiring gatherings of two or more.

Some pieces have barely made the cut, as we can imagine a metal door closing dramatically. Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal could not have arrived at a more precipitous moment. The insanity of Tiger King is only a reflection of the desperate quest for recognition in even the most dangerous of circumstances, which is something that not even our federal government is capable of ignoring.

The “numbers continuing to rise” includes coronavirus cases and deaths, unfortunately. But if I were to tell you that it is an angry and vocal minority that gives output on the internet on a daily basis, you would not be surprised.

Still, we now have a paucity of legacy media, as movies and television are on the back burner for more democratic and sentimental work, which includes social media and individual artistic endeavors. Maybe in the next six months, many of our favorite musicians will release coronavirus inspired albums, where experimentation amidst the isolation took center stage. I am worried about the prospect of music artists making money now that tours, one of the major aspects of revenue, are on hold, but I hope that the paradigm shifts towards the music, rather than the spectacle of performance.

Books and writing may see a surge, either through the big five publishers or through self publishing. E-books and audiobooks will continue to rise as their ease of access is now a necessity. Of course we’ll all have to groan at the new version of The Stand by Stephen King that is poised to emerge in all this pandemic talk. Pandemic young adult novels and pandemic short stories. Pandemic biographies and pandemic journalism.

And finally those silent takers-in of information on Instagram and the like will begin to share their own stories. A democratic turn of the internet, rather than the caged yelling of Facebook and Twitter, will hopefully include longer forms, denser thought, a quest for the difficult questions and the forlorn answers.

That is something I have tried to do, in any case.

I do worry that in this bout of panic and uncertainty, people will take the time and binge on the very artistic works that gave them paralysis. Netflix having to adapt itself to the heavy traffic in the EU does not have me thrilled. But I also understand that, for many of our workers in the service industry, this is the brief respite before going back out. And for those who are sick…it’s likely the only thing they can concentrate on.

Still, when looking back on this time, it’ll be interesting to note if coronavirus was a catalyst for a shift in taste for entertainment, education, and art. Or if it all was some fluke that caused us to rubber band back to the conventional mediums and forms that gave us comfort.

How it works out for you will of course be for you to decide.

David Hockney had opposed photography for its instantaneous rendition of a flat and two-dimensional plane, when our eyes hardly ever perceive the world in such sterile terms. We have a shifting look and depth of field that gives our eyes a desire for something greater. His work in The Secret Knowledge has been tantamount to genius. He had a vision for changing art in a way that empowered artists, and for opening our eyes to the shortcuts that artists used to provide accuracy in their words, rather than resonance. We have a chance to do that, now, amidst an outbreak.

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