Here Are 15 Artworks That Perfectly Capture the Dissipation and Ennui of ‘Social Distancing’

We'd like to think we're handling it like the Robert Henri, but it feels more like we're Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich. 

René Magritte, The Lovers (1928). Courtesy MoMA.
René Magritte, The Lovers (1928).
Courtesy MoMA.

In the last week, the term “social distancing” has rocketed into the vocabulary as life in much of the United States goes into lockdown. We’ve had a lot of time to talk to ourselves about the whole thing.

Here are a few choice artworks from the past that give a taste of what the new world of “distancing” feels like, in no particular order.

 

Pipilotti Rist, Open My Glade (Flatten) (2017)

Pipilotti Rist, Open My Glade (Flatten) (2017). Courtesy of Times Square Arts.

Pipilotti Rist, Open My Glade (Flatten) (2017). Courtesy of Times Square Arts.

George Tooker, Landscape With Figures (1965–66)

George Tooker, <i>Landscape with Figures</i> (1965-66).

George Tooker, Landscape with Figures (1965-66).

Remedios Varo, Papilla Estelar (1958)

Remedios Varo, <em>Papilla Estelar</em> (1958). Image courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.

Remedios Varo, Papilla Estelar (1958). Image courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco.

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Veronica Veronese (1872)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, <em>Veronica Veronese</em> (1872). Image courtesy Delaware Art Museum

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Veronica Veronese (1872). Image courtesy
Delaware Art Museum

 

Francesca Woodman, Self Portrait with Self Timer (1979)

Francesca Woodman, <i>Self Portrait with Self Timer</i> (1979). Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, NY.

Francesca Woodman, Self Portrait with Self Timer (1979). Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, NY.

 

Tilda Swinton, in “The Maybe” at the Serpentine Gallery

 Tilda Swinton, in "The Maybe" at the Serpentine Gallery. Photo: ANDREW WINNING/AFP via Getty Images.

Tilda Swinton, in “The Maybe” at the Serpentine Gallery. Photo: ANDREW WINNING/AFP via Getty Images.

 

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich at the Met Gala (2017)

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich at the 2017 Met Gala. Still from Vimeo.

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich at the 2017 Met Gala. Still from Vimeo.

 

A$AP Rocky, Lab Rat (2018)

A$AP Rocky, <i>Lab Rat</i> at Sotheby's in 2018. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

A$AP Rocky, Lab Rat at Sotheby’s in 2018. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

 

David Hockney, Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1968-69)

David Hockney, Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1968–69). Photo: Christie’s Ltd.

 

Marina Abromovic and Ulay, Rest Energy (1980)

Ulay and Marina Abramović, Rest Energy(1980). Photo courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2017), ©Ulay/Marina Abramović.

Ulay and Marina Abramović, Rest Energy(1980). Photo courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2017), ©Ulay/Marina Abramović.

 

Dennis Osadebe, Diary (2018)

Dennis Osadebe, <i>Diary</i> (2018). Courtesy of the artist.

Dennis Osadebe, Diary (2018). Courtesy of the artist.

 

Edward Hopper, Morning Sun (1952)

Edward Hopper, <em>Morning Sun</em> (1952). Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Edward Hopper, Morning Sun (1952). Image: Wikimedia Commons.

 

Andrew Wyeth, Christina Olson (1947)

Andrew Wyeth, <i>Christina Olson</i> (1947). Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

Andrew Wyeth, Christina Olson (1947). Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

 

Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1916)

Robert Henri, <i>Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney</i> (1916). Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1916). Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.


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