Throughout history, artists have engaged and challenged the times they have lived in through the art making process. We can see this is artworks like Guernica by Picasso, which portrays the suffering of people and animals wrought by violence and chaos and was made in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country town in northern Spain, by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy at the request of the Spanish Nationalists. Another example of this is The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, an installation artwork widely regarded as the first epic feminist artwork. It functions as a symbolic history of women in civilization. The power of these works transcend their time; we can see an example of this when, in 2003, U.N. officials hung a blue curtain over a tapestry reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica at the entrance of the Security Council when talking about the Iraq war.
For over a year humanity has been facing a worldwide pandemic and is experiencing never before seen issues exacerbated by political divide and climate change. With much of the world in lock-down to reduce the spread of infection, we have seen a drastic change in the way we live our everyday life. Pandemic Polarity is an exhibition which asks four artists: Alanis Forde (Barbados), Tim Maxwell (New York), Tom Mueske (Iowa), and Joseph Pascual (California) to re-contextualize Corona Virus data and use it in their own work, and in a sense turning something tragic into something beautiful. Data from each state is turned into polar graphs created by David Eisenberg, a Silicon Valley computer scientist. Eisenberg’s application allows artists to export these polar graphs as vector line art for use in the art making process. In a time when art is seen as unessential and science is constantly in question, Pandemic Polarity combines the two to show what is possible when there is a cross-section of science and art.