As the newly ubiquitous online exhibition has tried to render the physical experience of viewing art into a two-dimensional engagement during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown in New York, the artist Warren Neidich has organised a safe alternative with the group show Drive-By-Art (Public Art in This Moment of Social Distancing). Due to open on Long Island’s South Fork from 9 through 10 May (with rain dates slotted for 16 and 17 May), the show will feature around 50 artists whose work will be displayed in ways that are viewable from your car. This could include roadside sculptures, painting interventions across the landscape, videos projected onto the sides of structures, live performance and more.
“My intention with Drive-By-Art is to create a platform for experiencing artistic works in the public sphere brought on by the new realities of Covid-19,” says Neidich. “In our present situation, overwhelmed by the digital and remote condition, the question for me became: How could I use the concept of social distancing as a means to reinvent artistic pleasure? How could I find a new vocabulary to intensify the poetic voice of artistic practice above the din and cacophony of fear that suffocates us.”
A map to Drive-By-Art’s installations has been posted on the project’s website. All the artists, including Suzanne Anker, Eric Fischl, Joan Jonas, Barry Schwabsky, Keith Sonnier and others, live and work in the South Fork and are installing works at their homes or studios, near roads and highways. Other artists and organisers have made similar efforts throughout the country, though perhaps not to this scale. Artists in Maine and Houston have staged drive-by exhibitions, and a group in Spokane, Washington organised Art on the Go, for passersby to safely view the work of local artists en plein air.