letters from the pandemic #6 Dec 18 2020


The year that wasn’t is almost over When I wrote my first “pandemic letter” on March 26th, we were just about 2 weeks into the statewide ‘pause NY’ and although we had some dark premonitions, we could not imagine how long we would have to deal with this crisis and how many people would eventually die from Covid-19.

The year was long and passed very fast.

I felt compelled to shift my attention to the unhealthy developments in our society and some of the new work reflects that; to an extend I am still surprised, to say it mildly, to what lengths ideology can poison an otherwise forward looking country and lead to detrimental personal choices.

Now, with the arrival of the vaccine and a new administration, nothing will be magically become better, the country is still divided and a lot of systemic problems remain unsolved. Hopefully we will start to work on restoring the great agencies of our country and rebuild the trust in the democratic system, in the words of the incoming President, work to “build back better”.

At this pivotal moment, my ongoing series ‘at the gates’ seems more poignant than ever.

Since mid May I am back in my studio and have worked with some new found energy on large formats and accumulated a considerable amount of new works. I very much enjoy my new “material freedom” in using acrylics as a medium for my pigments and the endless possibilities which come with it.

The work has become more fluid and hovers, more than it ever did, on the border between figuration and gesture.

One of the positives for me this year was the intense collaboration with Angelica Semmelbauer of Ellipsis art, starting with the art on paper fair in the beginning of March, the last and still analogue art event in NYC before the pandemic - to the continued expansion of online presence through virtual exhibitions and presentations. My work has become so much more visible thanks to these efforts and I am pleased to point to a recently produced short documentary film, In the hope that in 2021 many of the ill effects of 2020 will be remedied, I sincerely wish you happy holidays and a healthy and successful new year.

David Stern, NYC Dec 2020 resources:

2020 Reflections - Virtual group show on Artsy by Ellipsis Art 2020 Interview by Jonathan Goodman for Tussle Magazine 2020 Zoom Conversation with art historian Elizabeth Berkowitz about 'at the gates' 2020 Zoom Conversation with art historian Eckhart Gillen about 'the sons of God' (German) 2020 letters from the pandemic (blog)




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