COVID-19 and aesthetics: The impact of the pandemic on the infrastructure of arts

In my contribution I aim to briefly survey a particular feature of the on-going pandemic, namely its radical effect on the functioning of the art infrastructure. Naturally also in previous centuries issues of health, research in medicine and questions of anatomy have influenced artists – famous examples may include Leonardo, Rembrandt, Géricault or Munch. However, the recent global health crisis leads not merely to the emergence of new topics or approaches, but it has fundamentally changed the way artist (can) work, show their products or perform. In the beginning of the pandemic it mainly manifested in cancellations of events, exhibitions, art fairs, shows etc. due to the restrictions and social distancing. Very soon however, artists and professionals in the cultural and creative industries have come up with innovative solutions to how to nevertheless provide cultural content to those interested, many of whom are locked in home quarantine. We still not fully see all the aesthetic consequences of these new approaches to enjoying art and consuming cultural content, however, just as COVID-19 will change many aspects of our (near) future everyday life, it will definitely also have an impact on the art world, therefore, the curious and critical investigation of the current situation is definitely useful for understanding of the future of arts and even the arts of the future.

Dr. Zoltán Somhegyi