Welcome to our May/June 2020 issue.
The first real clue that this was going to be a different issue – and a totally new way of life – hit me hard on the morning of Friday, March 13. Social distancing to avoid the coronavirus had already moved into our daily lexicon and many colleges were in the process of shutting down for their annual spring break. I had just finished writing a Facebook post encouraging readers to get to Fairfield University to see its “Archives of Consciousness: Six Cuban Artists” before the campus closed when, checking my Artscope account, I noticed that dozens of emails had arrived in less than a half hour, and that in that time almost every exhibition we had reviewed or previewed in our March/April 2020 issue had been shut down — some before they could even open — in hopes of helping flatten the COVID-19 curve. Since then, my outline for this issue changed at least six times; initially, we planned for the majority of our stories to be spotlights on artists
scheduled to show sometime in the months ahead, to play it safe, and some of those are included here. As each New England state’s nonessential business closure order extended into mid-May, our focus shifted to stories on the ways that galleries, museums and art organizations were keeping their art, artists and institutions in the eyes of the public that supported them and the collectors that bought their work.
To this regard, our national correspondent, Nancy Nesvet, writes on how artists are absorbing the COVID-19 crisis and how it will affect their future works. Don Wilkinson reports on how New Bedford’s summer season has already been changed with its key show moved to 2021. Suzanne Volmer discusses the importance of staying in touch with other artists and art professionals, despite stay-at-home orders, to share information and how that led to her getting a relief grant and exhibition. Beth Neville talked with Andrew Zimmermann about his Boston Sculptors Gallery exhibition that opened prior to the shutdown and which, at the time of this writing, would still be on view when it’s lifted.
We’re all waiting to find out what’s next.
What is certain is that Artscope is proud to share our May/June 2020 issue with you. It features a number of special “of-this-time-in- history” articles. Acadia Mezzofanti, whose work at Copley Society of Art I reviewed in our last issue, was in Florence, Italy, completing her final Romance Languages and Literatures degree requirements for Bowdoin College when the coronavirus hit there — and hit hard. I asked her to share her experience and photographs from the moment Europe started to shut down.
Glassblower K. Momoko Schafer had posted on Instagram about her experiences as an Asian- American wearing a mask in Boston’s South Station; asking her to write about them felt like a strong opportunity to provide a first-hand experience of what it is like to be stereotyped — and how artists used their special skills to make their own masks when none were available — as did thousands of volunteers for first responders and front-line workers throughout the world.
I was walking home with groceries, mask on, in preparation for the March 17 order shutting down public gatherings larger than 10 in Massachusetts, when photographer Stephen DiRado pulled aside of me on the sidewalk and asked me to be an early subject for his “During Virus Times” series documenting these unsettling days and nights. He not only shares what it was like taking photographs when most people were trying to stay away from each other but also, as a professor at Clark University, gives invaluable insight for other teachers struggling with how to keep students engaged and learning over the internet.
It feels as if we’ve put out several issues since our last publication and that’s in great part because of the efforts of two people — Hannah Carrigan, an Artscope intern from Sarah Lawrence College, who gathered all the information coming to us from hundreds of galleries, museums and arts organizations and turning them into two invaluable sections on COVID-19 related Closures & Updates and Online Art & Resources on artscopemagazine.com; she also introduced us to Zoom, allowing for us to “meet” on a regular basis. John Belmont, an intern from Lesley University, went from reviewing shows in person to covering instant online exhibitions; he discusses what that
experience was like in this issue, providing insight into what may be “the new normal” for the time being.
Kristin Wissler, our Email Blast! Coordinator, sent out a call for artists to share their experiences working at home and received a huge response; a collection of those are featured within. The importance of Isabel Barbi, our copy editor, bringing a fresh set of eyes to material written while our attention is split in so many directions for self-preservation, is invaluable.
One major aspect of the unsureness of what lies ahead was that we decided we would put the digital version of this issue together before the magazine edition. That meant an even bigger challenge for our Senior Media Developer, Vanessa Boucher, as we wanted to include as many links to material mentioned in the issue as possible.
For many of you, this may be the first time you see Artscope in its digital format, taking advantage of our 30-day trial period to see it. We’re hoping you like what you see and will consider signing up for a one-year subscription to assist us in the months ahead. Similarly, if you would like a copy in the traditional magazine format you can order one at artscopemagazine.com.
To our writers who contributed to this issue and those we look forward to returning to our pages in the future, many thanks. Much appreciation to our advertisers and exhibition and events listers as we work together to adapt and possibly, in the long run, improve how art is brought to a wider audience. And to you, our loyal readers, all the love in the world.
Thanks to publisher Kaveh Mojtabai for steering Artscope Magazine in a direction that allows us to bring this issue to you. Many have said that we need the arts now more than ever, and in staying focused he reminded me, “Art brings solace, sanity, beauty, autonomy, critical thinking and a creative way to live, instead of just surviving, to bring us together.”
We’re honored to present this celebration of the resilience of New England’s arts community.