MCP PRESS: Main |Journal of city’s plague year | 2020’s collision of crises | Artist captures voices | Fast-tracked research projects | Press Release | Professor uses art to portray pandemic | Artista plástico en EE.UU. | El virus en festivos | U. Miami professor uses his art | Video performances target pandemic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
As holidays approach (with family gatherings threatening public health), Miami artist Xavier Cortada launches
“Pandemic | Miami Corona Project” virtual exhibition
(MIAMI, FL. Nov. 19, 2020) – On Nov. 20, 2020, Xavier Cortada’s “Pandemic | Miami Corona Project” will be exhibited virtually at the University of Miami Wynwood Gallery. In keeping with the reality of our times, the solo exhibition can only be experienced online. “”Pandemic | Miami Corona Project” features works Cortada has created since mid-March when Miami began to take precautions to deal with the coronavirus.
The virtual exhibition features several new performance videos including “Honoring the Dead,” “Miami Pronouncement,” and “Saying Goodbye: An Offering of Gratitude,” as well as a body of work created as part of the “Miami Corona Project,” a socially engaged art project created to assess and address Miami’s coronavirus pandemic in real-time. See exhibition at https://art.as.miami.edu/gallery/online-gallery/index.html
“In the face of a crushing public health calamity the likes of which this nation hasn’t seen in over a century, we must still be grateful that we have one another for support,” said Cortada. “While at this year’s Thanksgiving table we express our gratitude for all that we have, let us also remember and honor all those we have lost and have yet to lose.”
These new works are presented as four videos for the online exhibition:
- Honoring the Dead: On May 8, 2020, Cortada made 454 marks on the coastline of Key Biscayne, one of Miami’s barrier islands, as part of a ritualistic performance to honor the 454 neighbors who had died due to complications from COVID-19 as of that date. Although waves washed Cortada’s markings away, those impacted by these deaths will never forget their loss – and, conceptually, the waves share our grief with those also grieving on shorelines around the world.
- Saying Goodbye: An Offering of Gratitude: Since the pandemic began, almost 4,000 people have died alone and away from their families in Miami-Dade County. In “Saying Goodbye: An Offering of Gratitude,” Cortada invites viewers to reenact his ritualistic performance and bring closure to the passing of loved ones who died in isolation. Participants imagine what they would have said to their loved ones and what their loved ones would have said to them if they had been able to be by their bedside.
- Miami Pronouncement: Since March 26, 2020, the day of the first coronavirus death in Miami-Dade County, Cortada has kept a daily record of those who have been pronounced dead in Miami due to COVID-19. “Miami Pronouncement,” the work’s title, implicates both a conceptual and literal statement of death. In this consistent, daily, handwritten format, Cortada aims to bring attention to this data and to archive a real-time record of how the pandemic impacted the county.
- Necrologie la Repubblica 17 marzo 2020: On March 17th, 2020, there were a record number of 475 coronavirus deaths in Italy. As of that date, the country had 41,035 coronavirus cases leading to a total of 3,405 deaths. A precursor to Cortada’s “Miami Pronouncement,” this performance has the artist recite names from an Italian obituary to acknowledge the loss and to warn about the deaths the pandemic would bring to Miami.
“I create these performances to remind us that the virus is still here, and it is getting worse,” Cortada added. “I honored the dead by documenting their loss and I did so to warn us of the danger yet to come. During this Thanksgiving, we need to be grateful, but we also must be ever mindful of following all protocols, so the virus isn’t spread at our dinner tables.”
For more information about Cortada’s COVID-19 related work, please visit cortadaprojects.org/corona.
Xavier Cortada is an artist and professor of practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History. Over the past three decades, the Cuban-American artist has created art at the North and South poles and across 6 continents, including more than 75 public artworks and dozens of installations, collaborative murals and socially engaged projects. The crux of Cortada’s work finds itself rooted in a deep conceptual engagement of his participants. Particularly environmentally focused, the work Cortada develops is intended to generate awareness and action towards issues of global climate change. Learn more at www.cortada.com.
Cortada’s Miami Corona Project is presented as part of the University of Miami’s COVID-19 Rapid Response effort. The Miami Corona Project is based on a consistent online presence that engages individuals through a variety of platforms. At a time when social distancing was the norm, this web-based project gave voice to individuals who felt disconnected from society. The project served as a real-time record of the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on Miami-Dade County, while also providing an outlet for cross-communal engagement between a multitude of individuals. Through the chronicling of data and information related to the virus, as well as a series of participatory art projects, the artist Xavier Cortada captured stories from individuals across South Florida in real time as they were being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.