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Why we appreciate the art created in 2020 more than any year before

The art created in 2020 deserves a special gold star on it, for the perseverance it took for creatives to pursue and complete their endeavors has never before been seen in many of our lives.

The year encapsulated a major Earth-shattering pandemic that caused all of us to look inward.

It is safe to say that as a global population we were well on our way to deteriorating the finite resources given to us. But in 2020 we found new perseverance in our art we may not have even known we had.

This past year taught us to utilize our artistic gifts and cherish the most precious resource we have – time. There are so many incredible ways that people flipped the script on the tumultuous year of 2020. Here are just some.

Artists as activists 

Ai Wei Wei is an absolute powerhouse. His actions to defy the Chinese government so that the truth would be revealed are downright groundbreaking. 

“His art is driven less by a belief in the inevitability of progress than by a compulsion to speak out in the face of injustice.”

(Kenneth Roth in HRW)

His 2020 project dropped towards the end of May and focuses on the face mask as an object in Hong Kong.

Long before Covid-19, Chinese citizens protesting for democracy would wear masks to deter facial recognition and shield themselves from police-induced teargas.

Anything is a canvas, if sculpted right it can also serve as a message vehicle. (Courtesy: Ai Wei Wei)

Since, masks have been outlawed in China. Ai Wei Wei produced his own mask collection for the protection of the people and defiance of an unjust regime. 

We appreciate this because:

A) It takes gargantuan stones to do what is right in the face of the Chinese government and

B) The iterations/presentations executed by this man are intricately woven to universally lock in the attention of any citizen.

Understanding the monumental moment 2020 offered for perseverance in art

Another artist who absolutely snatched our collar in 2020 is Kerry James Marshall. His work has been smoldering for quite some time. And in 2020, he was really able to continue building upon his thematic presence. Even Bezos became hip.

Most of his paintings involve Black protagonists and are intensely deliberate in nature. He leveled up in 2020 by making birds the subject of his imagery to highlight the absurdity of American racial politics. 

“If you had one drop of African blood in your biology, you couldn’t be white.”

(Marshall explains the one-drop rule in Phaidon)

Thus, his 2020 art painting “Black and Part Black Birds in America” illuminates racial ambiguity with different birds like the grackle or the goldfinch whose skin tones waiver between black and white, characteristically. 

A deep purple crow soars amidst clouds, a birdhouse and other colorful birds with incredible artistic depth (Courtesy: Kerry James Marshall and David Zwirner)

Overall, Marshall serves as an incredibly astute essentialist. The sociocultural associations derived from his paintings provide relevance via retrospective.

He has kept his foot on the neck of the art industry for years, so it is only right that he has begun to receive his just due.

So how did art in 2020 affect the culture?

To wrap up, I think it is important to touch upon some other ways 2020 art impacted the culture. Here are a couple 2020 art trinkets.

Facebook banned the sale of all antiquities in 2020. This includes ancient coins, manuscripts, mosaics, scrolls, and tombstones. Nearly 1.9 million members across 95 Facebook groups would move these items via encrypted communication.

According to the Antiquities Trafficking & Heritage Anthropology Research (ATHAR), this move was imperative because the ‘black market’ profits garnered from some of these individuals were funding illicit activity. To read more navigate here.

2020 showed us that Drake is an avid art enthusiast, and we already know he knows what perseverance is about. In his “Toosie Slide” video we got a decent glimpse at his collection which includes an Andy Warhol “Mao” piece, multiple KAWS artworks.

And of course, some Grammy awards represent art in so many forms. Drake did not have to flex on us like that, but nonetheless, he did. It’s a lot of Murakami in the hallways…

Regardless, it is of the utmost importance to know your worth – and then add tax. Harnessing your inner value and utilizing your funds to collect worth go hand in hand.

Life is a game of chess and soaking up properties and art will only benefit you down the line. Both of these things appreciate and contribute to compound interest over time.

Ultimately, we are appreciative of the perseverance we saw in creators in 2020 and the art they put out. And still, there’s no better time than now to go harder.