The crisis of the spreading of the coronavirus becomes more acute and according to the experts, the only way of coping with it is to voluntarily place ourselves in quarantine by staying at home. Although only the idea of not being able to go outside drives us mad, artists old and new remind us of the pleasure of “staying at home!”: reading a book, playing board games, nibbling something from the fridge at midnight, snuggling up in bed and more…
In these uncertain times, Aliza Nisenbaum’s “Kayhan reading the New York Times (Resistance Begins at Home)” (2017) and “La Talaverita, Sunday Morning NY Times” (2016) – both exhibited at last year’s Whitney Biennial – show how a weekend morning can become idyllic by leafing through a newspaper. Those who emptied a supermarket to stock up their fridges and deep freezers, are encouraged by Shona McAndrew in her painting “Asia” (2019) to enjoy a snack anytime of day or night in their underwear.
From the distant 17th century, Jan Steen, in his painting “Woman at Her Toilet” (1663) – the work is at Buckingham Palace – speaks of the joy of relaxation, with the bed unmade, the house in a mess, while the lady is at her toilet.
Many of us are lucky to have a good collection of board games. Is it time perhaps to conquer our boredom because we are enclosed between four walls “shouts” Hilary Pecis’ painting “Harper’s Game” (2019)? And if we are bored to death, at least let’s settle ourselves somewhere comfortable. As both the young and old among us are urged to do in Mary Cassatt ‘s 1878 painting “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair”.
“My Parents”, David Hockney’s famous 1977 painting in the Tate London depicts a quiet family moment at home and is a reminder that it is not necessary to continually wear pyjamas or dressing gowns when we are not going out.
It is certain there are albums and various kinds of coffee table books at home which we have not looked at for quite a while. Is it perhaps time to pay them a second visit as suggested by Rosemarie Trockel’s 2002 photograph “Living Means Not Good Enough”?
Lastly, “The Bed”, Toulouse Lautrec’s painting of 1882, speaks of the various and endless delights promised us when we stay in bed.
We may feel isolated conforming to the directive “We stay at home”, but it is the only safe way not to contract it or, if we are carriers unknowingly, not to transfer the virus to vulnerable groups. Patience; there are a so many ways at home to allow the storm to pass pleasantly and perhaps even creatively.
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