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New York Times
December 4, 2020
The Most Important Moments in Art in 2020: Persistence in the Face of a Pandemic
Roberta Smith

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The main story everywhere this year was the coronavirus: how it disrupted or reshaped specific spheres of activity, or left parts of them largely unscathed. The art world witnessed dizzying combinations of these outcomes, which are still unfolding. One surprise was the almost instantaneous financial fragility of museums and the stalwartness of art galleries of all shapes and sizes. When the virus arrived, an especially strong art season had been underway.

View of “(Nothing but) Flowers” at Karma gallery. From left, Marley Freeman’s “Untitled,” 2020; two 2016 watercolors by Stephanie Crawford: “Flowers on Tablecloth,” top, and “Still Life with Lemons,” below; Andrew Cranston’s “The Gloaming,” 2020; Lois Dodd’s “Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium),” 1995; five paintings by Tabboo! (2014 to 2018); far right, James Harrison’s “Walk in Wild Flowers,” 2020.

It was just a gallery group show, but its size, inclusiveness, theme and timing made it special. It was the first show that I and probably others saw after four or five months of sheltering in place. Between the absence of the art galleries and my absence from the city, I had come to feel rather feral, unfamiliar to myself. The vibrancy of this late-summer show snapped me back. It was a breath of fresh air, a sign of real life emphasized by the floral motifs. The more than 60 artists were an intergenerational, stylistically diverse group, but they all confirmed, as with one voice, the persistence of art and the instincts to make it.

 

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