Whitehot Magazine

Pictures from a Pandemic: Mike Cockrill and Adam Dant

  imageMike Cockrill, Social Distancing April 2020,  bronze

By ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST with Mike Cockrill and Adam Dant April, 2020

   I’m trying to remember the last time I hugged my daughter. I do remember what it was like to see her and to NOT hug her for the first time. It was about two weeks ago. She made it clear, though I didn’t really need to be told, when we greeted on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building that we would not hug. We would not touch each other at all but would stay several feet apart. The same with her mother who stood next to me chatting away. My daughter was not herself.  She watched us the way a parent watches her child tottering towards the deeper section of a swimming pool for the first time without holding on. She wasn’t just looking at us — our 27 year old had shifted to guarding us, but unable to put a magic shield of protection around our bodies.

   Her co-worker’s father was taken by Coronavirus last Friday. A man younger than myself. My daughter called me and broke down in tears on the phone in complete panic. I was not under any circumstances to continue going into grocery stores, no matter how briefly, no matter wearing latex gloves, no matter diligently washing hands. “I cannot lose you! I cannot have that!” Life wants life. Life eats life. Life protects life. Life holds on to life. I can park anywhere. I can drive over to my daughter’s building anytime and know there will be parking when I return. We can keep our distance on the sidewalk and still smile and talk. I can drive down to my studio in the Can Factory and avoid getting on any public transportation. I will see no one in my studio building. The town is alive and dead at the same time. We are in a liminal space. Moving about — frozen in place.

- Mike Cockrill,  March 29, 2020

Mike Cockrill lives and works in Brooklyn. He has been mining the dark undercurrents of the American psyche from his 1980s cartoon paintings to his gun-toting clown-killing girls of the 1990s. His figurative sculptures were made in Sculpy, shown in 2012, and recently cast in bronze. They can be arranged in different tableaux. As in this now chillingly familiar scene here. WM


   I’ve always thought that artists are in the business of creating problems where none existed before and solving them in unexpected ways. That’s why I love ‘The Rebus’, it embodies that idea in a stupidly literalist fashion both in its creation and its solution.
I used to make rebuses to give all the guests at my annual Xmas dinner another excuse to sit around thinking, laughing and drinking whilst holed up together in a tiny dining room.
Now we’re all holed up apart I’ve been making rebuses as some kind of proxy for all that fun, hoping that we’ll soon all be together again enjoying all the seemingly pointless puzzles that make life seem less puzzlingly pointless.

- Adam Dant

Adam Dant is a London-based British artist with work in the Tate Gallery, MoMA and numerous museums and collections. He is known for his ‘mockuments‘, drawings which detail the myths and social complications of London’s financial and historic center and he was chosen by parliament as ‘The Official artist of The 2015 UK General Election."


Anthony Haden-Guest


Anthony Haden-Guest (born 2 February 1937) is a British writer, reporter, cartoonist, art critic, poet, and socialite who lives in New York City and London. He is a frequent contributor to major magazines and has had several books published including TRUE COLORS: The Real Life of the Art World and The Last Party, Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night.




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