Spring 2020 brought with it the sudden collapse and cession of everything we knew. No restaurants, bars or cafes to catch up with family and friends. No theater, concerts, church or sports events where large groups typically gather. No on-site, in person classrooms in schools for anyone pre-school through college. No gyms or fitness centers. Easter came and went with no semblance of our traditional celebration of this highest of holy days for Christianity.
For me, I grieved the loss of travel opportunities. A much anticipated trip to Spain and a cruise around the coasts of Spain, France and Italy was cancelled. While I did enjoy a beautiful month of May in Minnesota and my flower garden flourished, I mourned for what I had been anticipating and was now missing.
I grieved with our high school and college seniors who could not experience walking across the stage and receiving their well-earned and long awaited diplomas. Instead, there was a virtual ceremony on Zoom, something new to most of us – or no ceremony at all.
Who can forget the rush on essentials and the shortages of critical items such as toilet paper the likes of which of we have never seen!
Calm moves to Chaos
The Solitude and Personal Reflection of 2020 Spring came to a crashing halt and the Heat of 2020 Summer – in both Temperatures and Tensions – rose with the untimely death of George Floyd in our own city of Minneapolis on May 25. That single event cast the rest of the year into chaos, fear, destruction and violence never before experienced.
Cher’s Famous Art is Created
Spring 2020 and the pandemic shutdowns brought my high school and college classes to a screeching halt.
I joined Facebook for the first time, and it became a welcome link to the outside world. It also has served as a platform, along with this blog, to sharing my passions with an unseen, but strangely visible, world!
With no classes to teach, and with the desire to provide something mindful (vs. mind-less) to my Facebook community, I created “Cher’s Famous Art.” Each week I posted a work of famous art that was relevant to what we were experiencing, or a holiday or event we were missing. A year – and over 70 works of art later – I’ve decided to catalog them in a retrospect so the sequence can be enjoyed and appreciated.
It all started here…
The first two photos and blogs I posted – the haunting photograph of “Migrant Mother” and the equally haunting painting of “The Scream” – very accurately represent the breadth of what we were all feeling at the time.
Join me in a Retrospect: The Spring of 2020 as seen in Famous Art
Click on the link or the photo to connect with the blog post for that week. Thanks for letting me share them with you. My hope is that it will tweak some memories or emotions within you, and that you’ll continue to become a more culturally literate person in the process!
13 March 2020: “Migrant Mother” by Dorothea Lange, American photographer – The pandemic begins: a study in Strength & Worry seemed like a good one with which to begin as we recall another devastating time for all Americans during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
20 March 2020: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter- The emotion we all felt at that time; we are ready to scream! But our screams seemed silent, as if disappearing into thin air, much like in the painting.
28 March 2020: “Freedom from Fear” by Norman Rockwell, American painter – as parents we want to provide safety and freedom from fear for our loved ones, much as these parents upon learning of bombings that during World War II.
05 April 2020: “Entry into Jerusalem” by Rubens, Flemish painter – to celebrate Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem to cheers of “Hosanna!” in what would be the last week of His earthly life.
10 April 2020: “The Pieta” by Michelangelo, Italian sculptor – to celebrate Good Friday when Jesus was crucified. This tender moment portrays Mary, mother of Jesus, as she cradles her grown son after His descent from the cross. It is my favorite of Michelangelo’s sculptures of this subject.
12 April 2020: “Resurrection” by Grunewald – to celebrate Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Jesus, the event that sets Christianity apart from all other religions and provides eternal hope for Believers. Part of the massive Isenheim Altarpiece, this panel is my favorite; it reveals the glorious power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
18 April 2020: “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper, American painter – in recognition of the Aloneness of the pandemic on our lives as well as the mandate for social distancing. The streets are dark. The diner is empty. The diners are silent. Much like our world experienced at this time.
18 April 2020: “Head of Barcelona” by Lichtenstein, American painter – in recognition of our cancelled trip to eastern Spain and plans to spend several days in Barcelona. I love public street art. This was one I was looking forward to seeing in person. Another time…
20 May 2020: Gaudi architecture in Barcelona – in recognition of our cancelled trip to eastern Spain and looking forward to enjoying the unique architecture of Gaudi which fills the city. Having studied Gaudi’s often bazaar-appearing architecture, I know that viewing it only in pictures does not possibly do it justice. Seeing it in person will have to wait…another time…
22 April 2020: “Irises” by Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter – in recognition of another stop in our cancelled trip to Southern France which I knew would be blooming with Irises such as van Gogh painted while he lived there. I did get to enjoy the irises in my personal Minnesota garden, however.
25 April 2020: “City Night” by Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter – in recognition of the cancelled Art in Bloom event at the Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Art). Combining art with the color and smell or fresh flowers, this is one of my all time favorite annual events to attend. I chose to represent the closure of this event with this painting because the subject was appropriate: NYC, the brightly lit city that never sleeps, was literally dark, silent and filled with unprecedented death due to the pandemic.
02 May 2020 “Horse Galloping” by Edvard Muybridge – in recognition of a cancelled Kentucky Derby Run for the Roses in Churchill Downs, Louisville, for the first time in nearly 150 years; no galloping horses.
11 May 2020: “Chi Rho Page from Book of Kells” Ireland, Medieval Illuminated Manuscript – in recognition of the cancelled trip to Ireland for my Intercultural Studies students and leaders due to closure of all travel outside of the USA due to the pandemic. May 11th was the day were were scheduled to leave the MSP airport. The trip has been indefinitely postponed.
10 May 2020: “Mother & Child” by Mary Cassatt, American painter – in honor of Mother’s Day. Cassatt was known for her tender paintings of the subject.
13 May 2020: “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter/sculptor – in recognition of our cancelled trip to Spain and one of the paintings on my bucket list, now deferred. I viewed this painting at the MoMA, NYC, in the early 1970s when it was in “exile” for a time. It is back in Spain. I have always wanted to see it in person again through the eyes of a more culturally literate person! Another time…
15 May 2020: “Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dali – in recognition of the confusion and question we are all asking: “What day is it?” As days, weeks, and months run together, we forget what day it is; this is a question we often ask.
25 May 2020: “Leaning Tower of Pisa” – in recognition of yet another stop on our cancelled trip, this one to this iconic leaning tower in Pisa, Italy.
31 May 2020: “Do Unto Others...” by Norman Rockwell – to honor the untimely death of George Floyd at the hands of police, and the horrors of the violence that followed all summer–and still today–in Minnesota. It would do us all well to remember the Golden Rule: “Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You.”
Spring 2020… moves to Summer 2020…
And with that, Spring moved into Summer, and while the world in many ways still seemed to stand still, it suddenly erupted and the world was forever changed.