GQ: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine

May 14, 2020

Arty Nelson

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Creativity in the Time of Quarantine
By: Arty Nelson

Galleries like Blum & Poe serve a certain civic role, given that five days a week anyone can walk through their doors and vibe on the culture. With stay-at-home orders currently in place, Jeff Poe, cofounder of the gallery with Tim Blum, believes it’s time to retool existing protocols. “Shifting online is what’s happening out of necessity,” he says. “But we can only see art on a flat screen. Scale is lost. It’s harder to feel. End of the day, the engagement is, and always will be, fundamental.”

At the same time, says Blum, the business they went into the pandemic with might look quite different from the one that comes out of it. “Random ideas have come to me,” Blum says, including live music and other events, or pop-up food nights. “I’ve also been thinking about the restaurants who don’t have any clear future when this passes. Perhaps we lend our gallery to chefs and restaurants to do a meal where they get the majority of the benefits? Be a nice way to create community and a kind of bridge to healing.”

For now, however, both remain optimistic that on the other side of this bomb blast the art world might ease off its Wall Street–fueled fever state and angle back toward something more in line with the way things were when they first hung their shingle: “Hopefully the communication and dialogue around art will go back to content and quality as value over the economics of the art market,” Blum says. “And there will be a return to the primordial nature of our feelings about art, as well as a focus on authentic content and a desire for the experience of art to be one of a road toward healing and consciousness.” Poe’s predictions are punctuated by a punk, pragmatic flavor. “Galleries will have a heightened online presence by presenting more supplemental content, as we are seeing now. I do think this will stay. But ultimately that conversation is secondary. I like my content live,” he says. “You want to watch porno or make love?” 

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Blum & Poe Los Angeles is closed for installation until Saturday, July 9.