Love in the Time of COVID-19 is the brainchild of Paul Greenaway, director of GAGPROJECTS (previously known as Greenaway Art Gallery).
With galleries closed and people largely confined to their homes, he decided to contact artists and invite them to contribute an A4-size art print, in digital format, to become part of an online collection available for members of the public to buy on a “print on demand” basis at cost price.
“We need more than ever before to remind people that the cultural community continues on, and that artists keep crafting their art forms, that art in times of crisis can bring us together,” he said in the invitation.
The request struck a chord, with around 60 artists offering work for the first series of Love in the Time of COVID-19, to be launched tomorrow.
Each work is presented on a template that includes the artist’s location at the time of the COVID-19 crisis. When purchased, they will be printed on good-quality rag paper by Adelaide’s Atkins Photo Lab and posted to buyers at a cost of $25 each (within Australia).
Greenaway says the project – with a name inspired by the Gabriel García Márquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera – is intended “purely to show solidarity”, so the artists won’t receive a payment for works sold and the gallery won’t take a commission.
His initial idea was that it could encourage children and families to engage with art and offer a distraction during isolation, “for the price of a cinema ticket and snack”. However, the wide range of high-quality works submitted is likely to have broad appeal.
“It can be that little bit of joy – people can buy one once a week and start a collection,” he says.
“Perhaps it will also encourage greater appreciation of art and increase the artist’s profile.”
The project features works in a variety of media by Australian and international artists, including Patricia Piccinini, David Noonan, Russian collective AES+F, and Adelaide’s Angela and Hossein Valamanesh (whose work was on show in GAGPROJECTS’ most recent exhibition).
Greenaway is also planning a second series of Love in the Time of COVID-19, which is likely to include a contribution by Ben Quilty.
“It’s a real mixture of emerging and very established artists,” he says.
“I just want good artists… hopefully people will look at the images [rather than just the names] and choose what they want.”
In early March, Greenaway had announced that his Kent Town gallery would suspend operations for 12 months while he renovated a new GAGPROJECTS space in Berlin, Germany. However, the COVID-19 crisis forced a quick change of plan and meant he ended up staying in Adelaide.
As well as the Love in the Time of COVID-19, the gallery (currently open by appointment only) is also now presenting a group exhibition titled LOCKDOWN. It can be viewed online, with artist interviews being uploaded to social media platforms.
Love in the Time of COVID-19 will be launched on Friday, April 10, with prints available to purchase from then and for the duration of the current pandemic.
A selection of Love in the Time of COVID-19 artworks: