The Archives of American Art’s Pandemic Oral History Project is a series of 85 virtually conducted interviews with American artists and art world figures that documents their real-time perspectives from June through September of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and many cultural institutions closed, artists, curators, professors, and activists shared their hopes, anxieties, and insights about how the seismic events of 2020 have shaped their work, new ways to engage with the public, and whether COVID-19 has changed the art world permanently.
Throughout the interviews, there is a common thread: new possibilities. The responses to these new realities involved logistical, spiritual, civic, and other kinds of shifts. In the context of her own practice, artist Julia Santos Solomon describes this transformation well:
So, there's that, the idea that art can succeed where politics and economics fail us. We have certainly lived and are living through a period of time like that. And I took it seriously, that it was my opportunity to do something for the community. My work tends to be very personal. And this speaks and it comes from personal history and emotional energy. However, in 2019, I began that shift.
The Archives remain witness to these transformations and what they will continue to make possible far into the future.