Street Artist Creates an Optical Illusion That Lets People See the Art Inside a Shuttered Museum in Florence

The pan­dem­ic will end, but the coro­n­avirus could become endem­ic, most virol­o­gists believe, “mean­ing that it will con­tin­ue to cir­cu­late in pock­ets of the glob­al pop­u­la­tion for years to come,” as Nicky Phillips writes at Nature. The dis­ease will pose much less of a dan­ger to us over time, yet the prob­lem of its per­sis­tence rais­es a ques­tion many of us are ask­ing our­selves as pre­cau­tions drag into anoth­er year: what kind of world will we step into when this is (most­ly) final­ly over?

Many restau­rants, the­aters, and music venues are shut­tered for good, while the impact on the art world has been dev­as­tat­ing. Accord­ing to an Art Basel report, sales con­tract­ed 36% in gal­leries world­wide in 2020.

Daniel Langer pre­dicts that up to 40 per­cent of gal­leries will close after the pan­dem­ic, even as the high-end “‘lux­u­ry’ art mar­ket is grow­ing dur­ing the pan­dem­ic” as wealthy investors “look to art as a long-term val­ue play.” The coro­n­avirus has only exag­ger­at­ed con­di­tions in which “99 per cent of all artists are paid mis­er­ably, while the top 1 per cent enjoys a celebri­ty sta­tus and can sell their art with enor­mous pre­mi­ums.”

French artist JR is one of the few who has done well over the past year, exhibit­ing his large-scale trompe l’oeil pho­to­graph­ic instal­la­tions in Paris and São Paulo. In his most recent instal­la­tion in Flo­rence, JR makes a strik­ing visu­al com­men­tary on “the adver­si­ties that cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions — includ­ing muse­ums, libraries, and cin­e­mas — have faced over the past year,” writes My Mod­ern Met. Called La Feri­ta (“The Wound” in Ital­ian) and “mea­sur­ing 28 meters high and 33 meters wide, this opti­cal illu­sion cre­ates a ‘crack’ in the exte­ri­or” of the Palaz­zo Strozzi, “so that view­ers can see mas­ter­pieces like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Pri­mav­era.”

In JR’s Insta­gram posts, you can see the piece being installed “as Italy entered anoth­er lock­down that will last until April 6, clos­ing the doors of all cul­tur­al insti­tu­tions once again.” Though it func­tions more as a memo­r­i­al to what feels like a lost world than a polit­i­cal state­ment, JR has accom­pa­nied his Insta­gram posts with pub­lic com­men­tary: “They say the muse­ums are closed,” he writes, “but it’s up to us to open them. Here is Flo­rence, the city of Bot­ti­cel­li, Donatel­lo, Machi­av­el, and Dante, we opened the Palaz­zo Strozzi.”

JR con­cludes on a wan note of hope­ful­ness: “we still have the free­dom to dream, to cre­ate, to envi­sion the future,” he writes. “Maybe it’s not much, but we have that!” Maybe we’ll also have more pub­lic art instal­la­tions in place of indoor gal­leries and muse­ums, and more artists bring­ing their work to the streets, “the largest art gallery in the world,” JR has said, and one that can’t be locked down or put out of busi­ness by a virus or the rav­ages of the mar­ket.

via My Mod­ern Met

Relat­ed Con­tent:  

A New Dig­i­tal Archive Pre­serves Black Lives Mat­ter & COVID-19 Street Art

Banksy Debuts His COVID-19 Art Project: Good to See That He Has TP at Home

A Bio­sta­tis­ti­cian Uses Cro­chet to Visu­al­ize the Fright­en­ing Infec­tion Rates of the Coro­n­avirus

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.