Art of Facemasks Gets Creative With the New Normal

Art of FacemasksCarole Coduti, ShipwreckedColleen M. Kelly, Fear Is A ContagionGeorganne Alex, Red AlertGwen Samuels, Family MasksIsabella Kelly-Ramirez, Armed with CharmsJess Conti, BirdmaskRT Livingston, CoronatimeLaura Wilkinson, Flight InterruptedMargaret MatsonLinda Pearl, Post Apocalyptic CollectionSara Woodburn, April 2020 QuarantineSusan OwensTara Patrick, BreathersSyd McCutcheon, No Guest Nuptials

The new Art of Facemasks exhibition at Solvang’s Elverhøj Museum of History & Art takes a fresh look at the most recognizable symbol of the pandemic — the mask. An emblem not only of the pervasiveness of the public health crisis itself, in our cultural landscape it is mainly viewed as a signal that the wearer takes the situation seriously, not only in terms of their own health but in consideration of those around them.

As the organizers point out, “When history looks back on the pandemic of 2020, these rectangles that hide the mouth and nose will be what we see.” So they invited a group of artists to design and in some cases reimagine what a mask can be, and what it can be made of. The artists were each part of last year’s The Art of Dress exhibition, for which they created elaborate garments using conceptual foundations and unconventional materials.

Among the works are everything from the bejeweled to the emotional, medieval, poetic, and fashion-forward — blurring the boundaries between form, function, artistry, expression and protection. A series of artist talks begins on June 3.

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