This essay is premature. Years must go by before the art that emerges from COVID-19 comes into focus and allows a categorization. Ten years after Trench Town became a ghetto came Reggae. Nine years after Hiroshima came Godzilla. Ten years after World War ll came Abstract Expressionism; perhaps to find a deeper method of expressing the experienced horrors. The art emerging from the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 was scant and erratic. Even the photography of that time was minimal and has left so much to debate. The few artists producing during the Epidemic, like Edvard Munch: Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu and Self-Portrait after the Spanish Flu (both works done in 1919), express more of a self-emptiness, a flatness of expression, of outlook, of passion. And though we have come a long way since then, we really haven’t gone anywhere. The things we fail to address as a society repeatedly loop back around and smack us upside the head. Here we are again, stunned after the smack, wondering what the hell it all means.
The Art of Tomorrow
Most of the art hitting the streets today is pre-COVID-19 and has nothing whatsoever to do with it. In the coming months, things will surface, abstract images that seem to make some kind of sense to us, or flat splashes of thought that portray our sense of helplessness, or our impotent and self-serving leaders. I don’t know. None today may capture effectively this time in our existence. Existing artists may just move on like nothing happened. But I assure you, as surely as the unforeseen rise of Rap from the rambling of beat poets and early spoken word prophets, the developing artists of today, of right now, are stewing and brewing ideas and images that will rock our boats.
Start looking. Start paying attention to voices crying in the wilderness. COVID-19 may be colorful, it may be flat, it may be empty, depressing, transitional, but it is coming.Knox, Aubrey (2020)
I see the development of art like this – First come the poets and visual artists. They grab chunks of abstract thought from the great consciousness we all swim in, chunks of thought trying to form into a cohesive, logical, expression. They slap these chunks of paper, canvas, wood, metal, wire strings, anything to find a medium to bring into being. Then, come the philosophers, the unravelers, the decipherers, to explain it to us all, to make sense of the abstract. Then it filters down into cultures, societies, cities, homes, and becomes part of our everyday thought process and existence, the next tweek in our paradigms. We have done this a million times. Call it evolution. Art is RNA.