Seattle Artists Satpreet Kahlon and Matthew Offenbacher launched New Archives, their new journal of critical arts writing for the Pacific Northwest art scene on March 1st. A few hours later, Seattle announced the second COVID-19 death in the United States, just a few miles away. Shortly after that Kahlon was among the first waves of infected, and their newborn project had to be put on hiatus almost before it existed
Trapped home alone in isolation with only her personal art collection for company, Kahlon had a new idea for their journal.
“I’ve been wondering,” she wrote in the first New Archive’s post after its hiatus, “what art you’ve been looking at. Morning after morning, long solitary day after long solitary day. What piece catches your eye when you wake up, or wait for your coffee to be ready — what piece in the background do folks ask about in your Zoom meetings? ”
That May post was an open call for submissions, seeking a public response. “The subject should just be an artwork (defined very, very loosely) you have been sharing your quarantine time with,” said the website. Submissions would be posted in the new New Archives as their revised content plan: The Art at Home series.
Recent entries come from every walk of life. Beleszove Wildish Josivu Foldlanya wrote about a crumpled cross-stitch she found while she was homeless, and how much it means to her that she has a wall now to hang it on. Tom Eykemans, co-founder of the Seattle Art Book Fair wrote about a tiny weather painting he bought from a University of Washington art student.
Kahlon is still seeking submissions, posting two to three a week, and is also looking for columnists speaking about equity in the art world.
We are all at home, these days. And the things we surround ourselves with now will hold new connotations for the rest of our lives. Speak to that, and share it.