I say this as an orthodox supporter: it lacks inspiration

Since we started talking about this virus, I think I have never mentioned it. And that is for a very specific reason – I am not passionate about it. I find it a stupid virus, without character, without a precise connotation. I do not like its name – Coronavirus or Covid-19 – which is halfway between a beer and a supermarket chain. I do not like the fact that it has become the popular novel that has invaded all the media. I do not like the word “virologist”, I do not like microbiologists… Actually, I do not like anything about this virus.

As for the media circus about it, I think it is vulgar, useless, and even – and above all – disrespectful to the dead. A macabre spectacle. I am sorry for the dead, of course I am! I am obviously sorry when someone dies, regardless of the virus. And I, too, like everyone else, am worried for my own health. I grew up in the 1980s, when the problem was HIV, a virus you took having sex. There was pleasure in it. Then, the years of the mad cow disease came, and there was pleasure, too, in eating meat (I respect vegans, anyway). But now? What is it in this? Nothing. No pleasure. No passion. You catch this virus by breathing, shaking hands, sucking your finger. This is a petty enemy that spreads on handles and handrails, that is not noble enough, I am sure you agree with me, to be the protagonist of a story.

So, I ignored it. I did not wonder if there is a plot behind this virus (as most taxi drivers I have recently talked with claim), but I tried to comply with Mr. Giuseppe Conte’s rules and give my contribution to those few people who follow me on the social media by posting videos in which I talk about art. Stop. Speaking of making a contribution: Damien Hirst did it, too, with one of the ugliest works I have ever seen. I say this as an orthodox supporter, one who considers his shark, drug stores, butterflies and cows as milestones destined to be part of art history forever and ever. Amen. Oh well.

I think even Hirst, deep down, thinks this virus is so stupid that it deserves nothing. Least of all a work of art. Be that as it may, we thank him for supporting the Help the Hungry campaign that was launched by The Independent newspaper, donating the proceeds of the work to the National Health Service. Well done. A great gesture. Moral: in times of pandemic, everyone contribute as they can. (If you want to download the PDF of Hirst’s work for free, here is the link: https://assets.standard.co.uk/editorial/ hirsthelphungryposter.pdf).

Carlo Vanoni


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