Home is where the art is? Reflections on changing notions of home and contemporary art practices in the wake of the pandemic

Hitting home: representations of the domestic milieu in feminist art

Keywords: Feminist art, contemporary art, notions of home, Covid-19 and art, domestic labour, art and social change


How has the pandemic changed ideas of home, and how have artists responded to these changes? This article considers the implications of Covid-19’s impact on notions of home for contemporary art practices, with a focus on the experience of woman-identifying artists, given the gendered politics of home. Many artists have been forced to rethink how they work in response to the pandemic’s effects on freedom of movement, financial security, and exhibition opportunities. In the broader community, ‘working from home’ has resurged with added legitimacy. To the more optimistic social analysts, Covid-19 has offered an opportunity for a major reset of work practices, but evidence suggests that the pandemic has doubled down on the unpaid care burden of women. For some woman-identifying artists, such developments have become the tipping point for exiting the industry; others have rendered their work almost entirely digital; for yet others it has provided the official imprimatur for long-developed sustaining strategies. I analyse how notions of home have been explored in contemporary art, reflect on how Covid-19 has challenged conventional experiences of home, and discuss examples of artistic practice that have adapted to these changes to examine what ‘working from home’ might entail in the wake of Covid-19.