In Gizela Horvath & Rozália Klára Bakó (eds.), Mind the Gap! Proceedings of the Sixth Argumentor Conference held in Oradea/Nagyvárad, Romania, 11–12 September 2020. Oradea, Romania; Debrecen, Hungary: pp. 229-241 (2020)
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The necessary condition for the reception of art is aesthetic distance, which paradoxically relies on direct experience: one has to be there in front of the artwork, has to live the experience. Therefore, the current pandemic and the practice of social distancing, which attempts to slow it down, is a serious challenge for the arts. This text analyses the ways in which artists and the institutions which mediate art react to the conditions caused by the pandemic. I will present some creative practices which turn the adversity of the pandemic into an asset (the White Cuib Facebook project and the series by Sándor Bartha). So, there are projects which mine the gap (social distancing) and use it creatively. Then I will analyze the practice of some museums and galleries, focusing on the positive examples (e.g., the “Stay at Home Museum”) as well as on the difficulties. The examined cases will reveal the fact that while the artists were able to react in creative ways to the constraints and to create artworks which point beyond the contextual value, art institutions generally attempted merely to get through this period, hoping that they would soon be able to get back to life as usual.
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