Top Art Moments of 2021
It’s here, folks. The end of the year 2021, and with it, we’ve gathered some of the most memorable moments in the art world. As the coronavirus singlehandedly shut down galleries, museums and workshops all across the globe, artists and curators were reduced to conducting their practices online as seen by the surge of ‘online exhibitions’ in the previous year and the trend has only continued in 2021. With the access to vaccines (shout out to the field of medicine), lo and behold, art institutions began to open their doors to the (vaccinated) public once again. During the year, several artists made splashes big and small on an international scale, and here are some of our favorites:
1- Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms at the Tate Modern
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama first created the installation in 1965 and since then, she’s created several versions of the work given the immense popularity among the audience. Resembling somewhat of a galaxy, it is impossible to ignore the mystical aura that the twinkling, sparkling lights in an altogether darkened room gives off: straight out of a cyber fairytale, if you will.
Fairytales aside, the work is intended to represent the duality of emotions relating to Kusama’s incredibly difficult life. Beauty and terror go hand in hand for this artist. The most recent installation of Infinity Mirrored Rooms is currently at the Tate Modern in London, which as mentioned before is such a hit among its viewers that as of today, tickets to this installation are booked until April 2022!
Resembling a galaxy, it is impossible to ignore the mystical aura that the twinkling lights give off in a darkened room
2- Ai Wei WeiGÇÖs Coronation
This is a documentary on the city of Wuhan in China at the start of 2020 when the world was hit with the coronavirus. Documenting the outbreak of Covid, the artist/activist compiled footage of real time pandemic procedures, hospital security footage, lockdowns and the deserted city. Like straight out of a Black Mirror episode with its haunting images, surreality and terror, it is the reality the entire world has been brought to within these past two years.
Coronation, with haunting images, surreality and terror, documents the outbreak of Covid at the start of 2020
3- Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped
One of the most famous Parisian landmarks, the Arc de Triomph was one day wrapped in silver-blue fabric like a Christmas present. Creating public art since 1961, artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude are known for wrapping big buildings in fabric. Why? We have no idea. Jeanne- Claude herself said, “It has no purpose. It is not a symbol. It is not a message. it is only a work of art.” There you have it. Sure looks cool, though. Other similar notable works by the artists include Surrounded Islands, The Iron Curtain, The Gates, and The Post Neuf Wrapped.
One of the most famous Parisian landmarks, the Arc de Triomph was one day wrapped in silver-blue fabric like a Christmas present. Why? We have no idea
4- The Reclaiming of the Statue of Robert E. Lee
Following the death of George Floyd, a protest supporting the Black Lives Matter movement reclaimed the statue of Robert E. Lee in Virginia, USA, one of the most infamous Confederate monuments in the US. Drowned in red paint, followed by graffiti and a portrait of George Floyd projected onto it, the statue was left thereafter as a symbol for revolution that called for the rewriting of history. According to the Smithsonian, the statue will be melted down and made into a transformed piece of public art and displayed in 2026.
Drowned in graffiti and a portrait of George Floyd projected onto it, the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee became a symbol of revolution
5- Pakistani Artists at the Dubai Expo 2021
The Dubai Expo 2021 launched in October (on display until March 2022) and it features a monumental space for Pakistani artists to showcase their work. One of these artists is the incredible Rashid Rana and his Unity of All That Appears, Pakistan Pavilion’s ever-changing exterior is a representation of the multifaceted sides of Pakistan, from seasons to culture.
Rashid Rana designed the Pakistan Pavilion’s ever-changing exterior to be a representation of the multifaceted sides of Pakistan
Hamra Abbas’s beautiful Garden is a floor sculpture that uses a marble inlay technique, spans 33 x 30 feet and will be a permanent fixture in Dubai. It’s part of the international public art project, directly commissioned by EXPO2020, curated by Tarek Fetouh.
Affan Baghpati’s Phooljaal consists of an installation that left the audience in awe. Inspired by numerous minarets found in Pakistan’s most sacred spaces, irrespective of religion, the work inspires to emphasise the idea of unanimity and connectivity.