Superstorms have a transformative power. They came into our vocabulary unexpectedly, a heavy loaded term to encapsulate the amplified nature of their destruction. In the aftermath, they leave us forever changed, forced to rebuild what was lost to the best of our abilities. But what of their impact on our creative selves?
Last autumn, Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey & Connecticut) with unprecedented vengeance. New York City, an epicenter of the Arts, suffered incredible damage never before seen from a natural disaster. Galleries were flooded to the rafters, studios and cultural centers irreparably destroyed and iconic works of art deluged to the point of ruination. Countless artists and creators lost everything.
As the waters receded, spaces where people had once gathered to communicate and to exchange ideas, to proclaim their unique artistic expression by devoting their lives to their craft, were gone. In their places, derelict and unfit structures were unveiled, filled with water-logged canvases, half-erased by the fury of the hurricane. There would be no consolation in insurance claims, no justice seen after so much was cruelly taken away in a superstorm of this magnitude. New York City mourned the fruits of its own creativity.
Then something incredible happened. The irrepressible power and resiliency of Art came to the fore: it had found a new means of expression in its own decimation. The ability to adapt to its surroundings, to represent a kind of pathetic fallacy while chronicling the human journey --this was the unparalleled sense of historicity coursing through its veins.
What was once deemed too damaged to exhibit became the focal points of exhibition. The notion of sustainability in Art and the significance of its cultural impact opened new channels of discourse. Mother Nature had dictated new boundaries of modality and artists answered her call.