Digital Intersections: Luca Buvoli

Picture: Present (An episode from "Astrodoubt and The Quarantine Chronicles" in 12 scenes)

July 20 - December 1, 2020

The Phillips Collection presents its first digital Intersections project: Picture: Present by Luca Buvoli. Created for the Phillips, Picture: Present is the most recent episode from the artist's Astrodoubt and The Quarantine Chronicles series that features tragicomic visual narratives commenting on the current covid-19 health and social crisis. The 12 scenes, which were unveiled simultaneously on the Phillips’s website, Instagram, and Facebook from July 20–August 7, 2020, will be available on the website through December 1, 2020.  

Utilizing images of works from the Phillips’s permanent collection, Picture: Present reads like a storyboard, reflecting on the emotional unrest and social constraints caused by the pandemic. With lively texts integrated within the pictures and written in a style mostly reflective of the time period, the Phillips artworks are re-contextualized as individual panels to tell a fluid story about the pandemic, offering “safety messages” for survival through art. The narrative crosses feelings of isolation, anxiety, and fear, as well as disillusionment in how the crisis has been handled, and ends with a focus on the restorative power of art. 

Buvoli began The Quarantine Chronicles (@astrodoubt_)—his daily practice of expression and communication—while living in isolation during quarantine. The protagonist is Astrodoubt, a fictitious astronaut who imagines drifting into space to escape ecological disaster, but is instead is grounded on this planet by the deadly pandemic. Astrodoubt’s only hope for survival is “humor and creativity.” 

The series is part of the artist’s Space Doubt Expedition Project, which began in 2009 in collaboration with NASA scientists and other institutions, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Over more than one decade, the project evolved from sculpture and drawing to painting, video animations, installations, and most recently social media. 

ABOUT the artist

New York-based multimedia artist Luca Buvoli (b. 1963, Italy) has exhibited internationally for 30 years. His work intertwines mythology, science, and ideology, with daily life and humor. Major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Guggenheim Museum in New York have acquired his sculptures, and his animated films and videos have been screened internationally at the Lincoln Center, New York; MoMA, New York; and the British Library, London. His expanded multimedia projects have been presented at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the 1997 Johannesburg Biennale, and other biennials in Asia and Europe. He has had solo shows at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2001); the M.I.T. List Center, Cambridge (2000); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2007); John Weber Gallery, New York (1995, 1997, 1999); and Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2012), among others.

Buvoli is the Director of the Mount Royal School of Art Multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. 


Intersections is the Phillips’s ongoing series of contemporary art projects in which artists are invited to produce work that engages the museum’s architecture and/or permanent collection, exploring the intriguing intersections between past and present.

Inaugurated in 2009 and led by Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, the Phillips’s Intersections series has presented 28 projects from the US and abroad. The artists have created diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employed various media, from wall-drawing, rubber-painting, and digital photography to video projection and yarn installation.        

Intersections is presented by