We recently got to talk with artist Deborah Kass, who is in lockdown on Long Island. In the months leading up to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kass was working on two new neon painting series: one which repeated the word “EMERGENCY,” and another, which repeated the word “EVERYBODY.” She talked to us about the intent behind these works, and how their content and meaning has been affected by current events. She also talks about her neighbor, a nurse.
“Nassau county where I grew up is really infected. It’s one of the highest infected counties in New York, so you know, there’s that. But we’re distant enough from people that it’s not going to be a problem. But I’ll tell you our neighbor across the street is a nurse. And it’s bad, it’s very bad in her hospital. Every single bed is COVID. Last night at 7 o’clock we all came out on the block and clapped and banged pans. We are grateful to her and every other first responder. It’s really daunting.”