Miami’s Buoyant Art and Design Scene Proves Culture Can Thrive Amid the Pandemic

In 2002, Art Basel ricocheted Miami into the international art sphere. But Miami had been steadily embedding noteworthy art into its airport, transit system, courthouses, parks, and community centers since 1973, courtesy of an ordinance earmarking 1.5% of the construction cost of new county buildings for public art. This entity, Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places, has overseen more than 700 commissioned installations, while public-private organizations like Wynwood Walls, splashy museum exhibitions, and a slew of visionaries have incorporated art into high-profile outdoor projects. Together they have fortified Miami’s reputation as a cultural epicenter where emerging talent is championed as fiercely as artists of international acclaim. Happily, Miami’s balmy climes have allowed art projects to thrive despite the pandemic. Here, a look at new and noteworthy outdoor art installations in South Florida.

“In addition to civic pride, our role is to empower artists to take risks and expand

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‘it’s drama the pandemic can’t touch’

In the first lockdown, many noticed how the roar of traffic was replaced by birdsong. If the pandemic has given us a renewed appreciation for listening, then some of the UK’s leading theatre-makers are turning – or in many cases returning – to audio drama, and pushing the limits of the form. It helps that audio plays can be made quickly and relatively cheaply, incorporating topical issues. Previously staged productions are now being offered in audio form, too, the most recent of which is The Whip by the RSC. Is this all leading to a new golden age of audio drama or merely filling in for the “real thing”? And will we listen differently when we eventually return to auditoriums?

The playwright Simon Stephens says our theatrical tradition valorises listening above all else. “Samuel Pepys wrote about ‘hearing’ a new play at the Globe, not ‘watching’ it. There is

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How Art Lovers Weathered the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020

The last “normal” art-world event I attended, on March 12, was the opening of Kyle Staver’s exhibition at Zurcher Gallery, in downtown New York. The usual crowd gathered to savor Ms. Staver’s idiosyncratic updates on history painting—a waterborne Ophelia; Susanna in a hammock, flanked by tigers; the enigmatic Venus and the Octopus—and admire her exuberant conceptions, sinuous figures, and brooding color. The only sign of anything out of the ordinary was the absence of embraces. Just as at the art fairs the previous week, elbow bumps replaced air kisses. The next day, everything began to change. Isolation was recommended. Galleries and museums closed. Studio visits ended. Scheduled exhibitions were indefinitely postponed. Since it seemed irresponsible to write about art seen only virtually, my world altered abruptly.

Museums, galleries and artists adapted quickly to the new situation, expanding and intensifying their existing online activities, rapidly improving what was already there

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Will there be a monument to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Editor’s Note: Dr. Emily Godbey is a professor of art and visual culture at Iowa State University. In this article, she discusses how plague monuments were used to commemorate victims of past disease outbreaks. She also looks at temporary memorials for COVID-19 and examines why plague memorials are not as prolific as war memorials.

Which disease outbreaks have been memorialized around the world?

Diseases like the bubonic plague, cholera, the 1918 influenza pandemic (“Spanish Flu”), AIDS, and even SARS have monuments, although some are more modest than others.

They are relatively uncommon, however, when compared with monuments to wars, political regimes, and more visible tragedies, such as 9/11 or the Holocaust. However, they are present in many places.

What are some notable plague monuments and what do they commemorate? 

The bubonic plague broke out several times in different parts of the world between the 6th century BC and the 19th

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