Dua Lipa's self-portraits, shot in the yard of her Airbnb.Photographs: Courtesy of Dua Lipa Dua Lipa
Ever since her apartment flooded, the 24-year-old chart-topping pop star Dua Lipa has been social distancing with boyfriend Anwar Hadid in a London Airbnb. She caught up with GQ from the couch, her home base for promoting her new album—her well-received sophomore effort, Future Nostalgia, which was released in the wake of announced lockdowns—and possibly for recording her next music video.
What's something you've learned about yourself, creatively, since distancing began?I've realized I'm quite antsy. I have to get out of bed and create a routine. I might be a little OCD with that kind of stuff. People have been asking, "Have you been making music during this time?" I haven't. But this is a good time to start thinking about where I want to go next.
You've had two of the most talked-about videos of quarantine in your Corden and Fallon performances. How'd you put those together?I'd be lying if I say that I wasn't stressing out and welling up with tears being like, "I don't know how I'm going to pull this together." But it was also a way to be like, okay, how can we still do this? For Corden, it was easy—I just filmed myself singing "Don't Start Now" on my own on the computer and on my phone, and then I had everybody in my band and my dancers do their own one. Everybody's like, "How did you not get latency?" It was prerecorded!
It's a lot more stressful when you're a one-man show, when—and I know this is a very privileged problem—I have to do my own hair and makeup and try to make myself look good on a day that I probably don't feel cute because I've just been in sweats. I wanted to reiterate that this is glitz and glamour from home; that's as glamorous as it's going to get. —Brennan CarleyFor more from Dua on life in isolation, and what she's prepared to steal from Drake, read here
Browne's design process always begins with abstract sketches like these, for his upcoming spring-summer 2021 collections.Courtesy of Thom Browne Thom Browne
Keeping busy in his New York apartment, the famed designer is sketching for the future (while wearing a suit, of course).
Dia Diasupil/Getty Images for NYFW
Designer Thom Browne's creative process has always been something of an enigma. His famously provocative runway shows take classical tailoring down rabbit holes into kinkier and more avant-garde territory. In recent years, they have featured a flock of models wearing full bird of paradise plumage, a ballerino in a seersucker tutu, and a ghostly 10-foot-tall unicorn puppet prancing down the catwalk. But Browne has revealed little about how an idea travels from his imagination to cloth.
Until now: Every Thom Browne collection starts as a series of interpretive geometric sketches that represent the shapes and proportions in the collection. "I've always used this method," Browne said. "I never get locked into a specific fashion sketch, per se, at the beginning. I like collections to start from proportion and basic shapes, and then we work it into something more realistic after."
The sketches might look more like Philip Johnson floor plans than the makings of something you might wear. That's because they're closer to blueprints than garment patterns. A square could represent a short jacket; a rectangle, a larger piece of outerwear; a triangle, a skirt. It's slightly inscrutable to the observer, but Browne, who has figured out how to make LeBron James look cool in a shrunken suit, has an uncanny sense for balancing shapes. These sketches reveal the abstract and artful thinking that goes into developing his masterful mash-up of radical and traditional. —Samuel HineFor more from Thom on how the pandemic is influencing his next collection, read here
Desus's instant self-portrait from home, in the Bronx.
Mero's instant self-portait from home, with his family in New Jersey.Desus & Mero
The new, Letterman-approved kings of late night, Daniel Baker (a.k.a. Desus Nice) and Joel Martinez (a.k.a. The Kid Mero), chat with GQ about being funny from home in the epicenter of the pandemic.
Did you guys approach Showtime to keep doing your show or did they order you back to work?
The Kid Mero: Showtime has taken the whole thing very seriously. We're used to doing the show with no audience, so it wouldn't be this massive scale production like other late night shows. We started kicking around the idea, it was kinda like, let's go for it.
Desus Nice: Doing it was a mutual decision, it wasn't like Showtime called us, yo, you gotta get back to work. We both wanted it. I was joking that the studio we just moved into was the old Al Jazerra studio, got like bullet proof windows, and if we had enough food, we could just all move in.
Have you discovered any new sources of inspiration during quarantine or are you going with what's familiar?
Mero: There's no Coachella to talk about. On the flip side, you have this entertainment petri dish from the quarantine. People doing Instagram live battles, DJ's doing a set live on Instagram or ZOOM and everyone's bingeing everything, so there's still plenty of material.
Desus: Because everybody is home, everyone's talking about the same things on twitter, everywhere, so you have to find things that haven't already been discussed to death and talk about them in a new way. Back when we were doing the show [in studio], there might be a new meme and there'd be a couple of replies. Now, like the African Guys dancing at the funeral, everybody's commented and every possible joke's already been said, so it's kinda upped the ante.
—Arty NelsonRead about Desus and Mero's dream quarantine partners—and the rest of the interview—here
Wes Lang, More Than This, charcoal on paper, 90" x 84"Photograph: Evan Bedford Wes Lang
Searching for some joy in his work, the L.A. artist is working on a new series that replaces familiar themes like skulls and grim reapers with glorious Hollywood icons of the past.
What kind of work have you been making?I'm mostly focused on a series of new large-scale works about Robert Redford, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and the world around them. Cars, watches, living the high life. I decided to make work that makes me happy and that puts a smile on my face.
Wes Lang's self-portrait, drawn in less than one minute.Courtesy of Wes Lang
To what degree would you say the work that you're making is "about" the crisis?I'm coming at this as an opportunity to take the time to explore subjects I have been fascinated with my whole life, which in turn is giving me a very clear and positive outlook. We are all going through the same situation worldwide. It's scary, dark, filled with death, compromise, discipline, separation, but I have hope we will come out the other side stronger than we have ever been. It's not so much "about" the actual crisis; it's an exercise in keeping positive and hopeful in a time filled with nothing but the unknown.
What have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to?Lots of Criterion Channel movies (Eyes of Laura Mars, Contempt, Belle de Jour, to name a few). Watch websites (Hodinkee and SJX, mostly). Classical music. Lots of classical music. Calms my mind and fills me with joy and hope.
Offset in Los Angeles, photographed by rayscorruptedmind in New York. Artwork by Ryan McNamara.Offset
At home with Cardi B and baby Kulture in L.A., the rap star is cooking up harder fits than ever—and reworking the next Migos record.
Offset's quarantine pad in L.A. is basically an enormous walk-in closet. Enter through the front door and you might have a Daisy Buchanan–level meltdown, but over Chrome Hearts jeans instead of Gatsby's dress shirts. Offset has turned his living room into a laboratory for fits, with rare jawnz from Kapital, Louis Vuitton, Chrome Hearts (of course), and obscure Japanese brands you can find only at local shop Departamento, piled high on every surface. "To be honest, I like to get dressed so much, I'll find myself putting fits on and taking pictures in the driveway just so I can have some content to give to my fans while we're sitting at home," Offset said while showing off his fashion archive on FaceTime. "Every day I'm throwing a different pair of shoes on, and I ain't really going nowhere. I love drip so much."
When he isn't taking fit pics in the driveway, the Georgia-bred rapper is recording in his home studio and working on a new concept for the next Migos album via regular calls with Quavo and Takeoff. That's right: It might not be called Culture III. "[Quarantine] has just given me a harder grind, a harder drive, on the inside," Offset said. "Ever since 'Bad and Boujee' went No. 1 and then we dropped Culture and Culture II, I've heard the word culture so much. As artists you challenge yourself—you have to keep moving forward. So I've been thinking of a plan to make something as powerful or more powerful [than Culture]."
And of course, Offset and his wife, Cardi B, are using their rare mutual downtime to do quarantine couple things, like binge-watch Tiger King. When asked whether lockdown has brought him and Cardi closer together, Offset was unequivocal: "Yessir. Both our time and both our schedules be hectic, so we're taking advantage of that. But," he continued, "we're both ready to get back to work." —Samuel Hine
Renell Medrano's bedroom in the Bronx.Renell Medrano
From her home in the Bronx, the peripatetic photographer—who has collaborated with A$AP Ferg, Dev Hynes, and Solange, to name a few—is using a projector to bring the forbidden outside in. What's kept her going through the crisis? "Spike Lee's MasterClass. Fight Club. A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Leon Bridges's Coming Home."
Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Bjarke Ingels
Quarantined on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, the visionary Danish architect hails the power of 3D printing and unveils his biggest ambition yet: a master plan to save the planet.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Last year we started a project with the working title Masterplanet. It might seem megalomaniacal to make a master plan for the whole planet, but we'll be 10 billion people in 2050, so we have to design for it. We've tried to boil down the greatest challenges facing humanity, including the main sources of climate change: energy production, agriculture, industry. One of the things we noticed is if we want to be as sustainable as possible, then in a small building, a house, a lot of things that are technically possible are not always feasible. But as you move from house to block to neighborhood to city to the entire planet, you get more and more possibilities for solutions.
Maybe the real gift—if you want to call it that—of the pandemic is that until now we've been so incapable of acting in the face of climate change. I think we're going to emerge from this collectively galvanized in ways we haven't been before. Even when everything gets canceled and you get quarantined, it's not like the world stops. For all of us to have a little more time on our hands to think about where we're going and how we'll get there—at least in my personal case, it's incredibly productive. —As told to Eric WillsGet more details on Ingels' "ultimate pragmatic utopian...strategy" here
Courtesy of Aaron Adams Aaron Adams
A master of plant-based dining, and one of the most exciting new minds in cooking, explains how he retooled his Portland, Oregon, restaurants to meet this moment of crisis—and why culinary creativity goes well beyond food.
The menu is not the challenge. It's pretty easy to put a small menu together. The creative part is in building systems.
So we have two kitchens, 400 feet apart. One cook in one kitchen and another in the other. We have one person who comes in, scrubs up, sanitizes, does prep, sanitizes, and leaves. Then another person comes, sanitizes the space again, and leaves. A third person delivers food to the trunks of cars. People have preordered. They've already paid.
The vegan master chef waters his tomato, broccoli, and pepper seedlings.
I still struggle with "Am I doing the right thing?" We could just as easily stay home. I'm doing it to keep my staff busy and sane, to support local farmers, and to be making food for the community.
I think we need to become radical with our hospitality. You can be creative and comforting. I was working in New York on 9/11, and I remember that first Thanksgiving after. We put duck roulade on the menu, other fancy dishes. And everybody wanted the turkey plate, with gravy and mashed potatoes. Nobody gave a fuck about duck roulade. I think of that as a lesson about what people are going to want when this is over. Do we really need 10-course meals after this? Does anyone wake up and say, "I really have a hankering for a 10-course tasting menu"? Can we think of some other way to bring people joy? —As told to Brett Martin
Quarantine Freestyle (study of objects in the studio), photographed at Erizku's studio in Los Angeles.Awol Erizku
The Ethiopian-American photographer is spending time in his Los Angeles studio drawing, painting, and building surreal worlds in the form of evocative still lifes. So to what degree is this new work about the pandemic? "None?" he says. "But maybe we won't know until we're out of this crisis."
Chris Johanson, Meditative Homeostasis Painting 2, house and acrylic paints on recycled canvas, 19" x 19"© Chris Johanson; Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York / Photograph: Mario Gallucci Chris Johanson
For Johanson—a central figure in San Francisco's Mission School art movement—painting under quarantine is a form of meditation.
Chris Johanson's self-portrait, drawn in less than one minute.Courtesy of Chris Johanson
Where are you quarantining?Portland, Oregon, at my house.
Describe your experience of the crisis in a few words or a sentence.Serenity prayer/illuminated existence.
What kind of work have you been making?I've been making paintings on recycled canvas with as little paint as possible, focusing on calmness while I slowly paint. I try to gently let my life be what it is. Make room while I paint to process uncomfortable thoughts like dying or whatever heavy thought I might need to be with.
To what degree would you say the work that you're making is "about" the crisis?The virus is in the painting, so is the political anxiety, but there is a lot of love in the painting too. Everything goes in the paintings.
What have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to?I'm reading The Missing of the Somme by Geoff Dyer and Object-Oriented Ontology by Graham Harman. Watching the Criterion Collection's new streaming service. Listening to basically the whole catalog of Mississippi Records and a bunch of solo jazz-piano stuff.
Model Anna Herrera in London, photographed by Elizaveta Porodina from her home in Munich.
For the Munich-based experimental fashion photographer, the crisis has brought "a short period of despair and panic, followed by a wave of hyperactivity, euphoria, inspiration, and a deep, calm gratitude for the lessons I am learning."
Original design created for GQ by Online Ceramics.
Unprecedented times have led to unbridled creative freedom for the DIY brand that turned bootleg Dead merch into a full-blown fashion insurrection.
From their respective homes in L.A., Alix Ross and Elijah Funk, the artists behind Online Ceramics, have launched a new radio show with Elara Radio called "Train Wrecks and Trip Reports," where they read spooky and shocking accounts of what they call "good trips gone bad." They've also completed a virtual look book project with the digital artist Jasper Spicero, and continue to work on a forthcoming painting show. And in between their projects, they created an Online Ceramics design for GQ that reflects the far-out zones their minds have wandered to during lockdown.
"This shirt is about process, and it's about what we do when we're locked in," Funk says. "I'm trying to figure out a way to illustrate the fact that you can go anywhere while still being somewhere." —Samuel Hine
Photographs by Richie Shazam Julia Fox
The Uncut Gems actress is keeping New York City nightlife alive in her own unusual way.
Uncut Gems, Josh and Benny Safdie's jewelry-heist love letter to New York monomania, turned niche neighborhood legends into figures of national intrigue. But Julia Fox, playing the hustling hottie girlfriend to Adam Sandler's antihero "Howieeee," emerged as a fully formed, once-in-a-generation talent. She is one of those people who are built to become movie stars.
Fox's bewitching combination of innocence and moxie transcends the screen. Prior to Gems, she celebrated the erotic in all its glorious possibilities (a high school gig as a dominatrix; designing a beloved line of sexual knitwear; an art show of silk canvases streaked with her blood called "RIP Julia Fox"), while earning a reputation as the ultimate New York party girl. And just before the pandemic, Fox—who is 29, or 30, or 28, depending on what you read (perhaps because she has a celluloid star's grasp of origin myths)—was plotting a big new life, moving to Los Angeles and filing for divorce. ("We're friendly, but we're not together," she says of her soon-to-be ex, Peter Artemiev. "He's still my friend. I'm sure he would like it to be more, but it's not happening.") The world couldn't wait to see what this magnetic persona would do next with her Elizabeth Taylor–level commitment to false eyelashes and getting what she wants.
Julia Fox, photographed in downtown Manhattan in the middle of the night by her best friend, Richie Shazam.
Now, she says, "that is definitely on pause. There is nothing coming in." But the woman who embodies the art of staying out and up all night has still found a way to do just that, roaming through the empty, moonlit Big Apple. These pictures capture one such eve, when Fox and best friend–slash-photographer Richie Shazam logged 22,000 steps strolling the new, dystopian cityscape. "You can kind of do whatever you want outside because no one's there," she says, ruminating on her attire for this particular photo shoot.
Seeing her hometown deserted is "really something unforgettable, but I want to go back to the utopia that is Los Angeles," says Fox, who speaks in a kind of cinematic slow-mo, turning "Los Angeles" into a stretch of sun-drenched gravel, a kind of vocal-fried onomatopoeia.
After trekking through Gotham, it's back to her hotel, where she writes—she's working on a podcast script and a book proposal—until darkness falls. She's also getting into movies—like, watching them. "In my pre-quarantine life, I would watch maybe, like, TV here and there, but I would never really fully commit to an entire movie because I can't really sit still for that long," she says. "So now I can watch, like, four movies back-to-back, and I'm totally loving that." Rather than curate some amateur film-fest of obscure whatevers (you poseurs!), she's taking advantage of the glorious randomness of hotel cable programming: It's "kind of like Russian roulette," catching half of Charlie's Angels today followed by most of Addams Family Values, and then the other half of Charlie's Angels tomorrow. "It's all kind of one big blur," she says, that goes on until 7:30 or 8 in the morning, at which point she goes to sleep, wakes up around 3 p.m., and c atches up with friends until it's cardio time once more.
One night, "I saw a bunch of guys trying to break into an ATM," she says. "I was like, 'Wow, this is really fucking anarchy. No one gives a fuck.' So every time I go out, I bring my mace with me."
Fox has an impulse to search for a silver lining, and a sense, like a mystic hustler, that she must work toward bigger and better things. She is using her renowned powers of manifestation, previously applied to beat out hundreds of actors for the Gems role that was practically written for her, "to send my love and send help in some way to people that are sick," and to keep herself productive. "I'm always a big-picture kind of gal," she says. "I always think in the long term, and I like to see things through from beginning to end in my head." Sounds like a movie—just where she belongs. —Rachel TashjianOttessa Moshfegh
The acclaimed author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation offers a dispatch from her quarantine in Pasadena, California, where she's embracing a period of creative productivity she calls "the light side of the darkness."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
When your worst fears are realized, it's tempting to think you have invented them, like this is all a bad dream, and if you can just change your mind, then reality will change along with it. As a writer, isolation and solipsism are kind of unavoidable. When I am absorbed in writing a novel, reality starts twisting to reflect and inform everything I've been thinking about in my work. That's normal.
That's part of the miracle of creation, one could say, or it's the mind organizing the details of life into a narrative that logically orients the writer back to her own story. A trap of perception, maybe. In some ways, this quarantine is the ideal creative environment. Writing takes patience and listening, allowing oneself to linger on a word or image or gesture and watch it develop into drama through a language of its own. It also takes a lot of time. I haven't had time to write fiction in a year and a half. I'm trying to see this period as a blessing in that way. The light side of the darkness.Read Ottessa Moshfegh's full essay here
Matty Healy in his studio outside London, photographed by Pari Dukovic in New York.Matty Healy
Holed up in a recording studio outside London with his girlfriend and a few musicians, the frontman of the 1975 caught up with GQ via FaceTime, spliff in hand, ready to riff on a big question: How do you make art out of a nightmare?
I've been making things every day, or trying to. We'll eat lunch, start smoking weed, and start fucking around. We'll do a little Hail Mary of, like: come up with three ideas. Because I still want to get records out. This is such an awful circumstance, but Abstract Expressionism or the Zero movement or the Gutai movement only happen when young people feel like "What's the fucking point?" And then they make something new. The only thing I have the ability to do is make positive things. That's what I'm trying to put my energy into.
On our last record, I was asking a lot of questions. I'm doing the same on this new record. I suppose the question is: Can this center really hold? I'm not prophesying or predicting anything. I'm just saying: This shit feels fucking weird now. So the only thing that could have made the record feel not prophetic would be some positive global event. If the world had got better, I'd have sounded a bit paranoid. But that was never going to happen. —As told to Sam SchubeLearn why Matty Healy misses "getting the shit kicked out of [him]" here
Robert Eggers's quarantine reads: Valkyries, Vikings, and a little Norse dramaCourtesy of Robert Eggers Robert Eggers
The director of The Lighthouse, last year's movie about isolation and madness that has taken on new relevance, chats from Belfast, where he's working on his next film, a Viking revenge saga.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
It's easy for me to get absorbed in my work, to let that obsession destroy any depression I'm having. I'm usually depressed for a weekend, maybe a week. I drink and cry, and then I dive into work. But we have a toddler, which changes things. Because my son can't go to his day care—and you know, we're enjoying the extra time with him—but it's harder to work in the way that we'd want to. In a kind of extreme way.
In my work, I write about people behaving badly so that I can behave well in my own life. If I was as dark as the characters in my films, nobody would want to hang out with me. My in-laws think it's funny—people think I'm walking around all day thinking about human-body decomposition and making sacrifices to, you know, demons and elemental spirits. But I'm cleaning up dirty diapers and taking out the trash. I mean, I do spend plenty of time thinking about human-body decomposition. But that's in between being a normal person. If you want to learn about loneliness, ask a fucking lighthouse keeper. But also, they would have chosen that job, you know? I did not. —As told to Zach BaronLearn what Robert Eggers is watching. On his phone. In the car. Here
Rashid Johnson, Untitled Anxious Drawing, oil on cotton rag, 30" x 22"Photograph: Courtesy of Rashid Johnson Rashid Johnson
His large-scale installation works fill galleries around the world and are typically made in a Brooklyn warehouse. But COVID-19 has sent him into his modest basement studio to paint anxiety in vibrant red.
Where are you quarantining?With my family on Long Island.
Describe your mental or emotional experience of the crisis in a few words or a sentence.I'm feeling sad for those who have experienced loss but hopeful that we will get over this soon.
What kind of work have you been making?Mostly small paintings and drawings.
Rashid Johnson's self-portrait, drawn in less than one minute.Courtesy of Rashid Johnson
What tools and materials have you been using?I've been using watercolor paper and oil sticks. These are things I am familiar with and often use in my project.
To what degree would you say the work that you're making is at all "about" the crisis?My work is always about a crisis—maybe not this crisis, but the crisis of the human condition.
What have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to?I've been reading Frankenstein: The 1818 Text, by Mary Shelley. I've been listening to Louis Armstrong's "Black and Blue" and Jay Electronica's new album, A Written Testimony. I've been watching old Law & Order episodes. In these uncertain times, it's good to know how something is going to end.
Jason Nocito photographed wife Meghan, daughter Ramona, and dog Jiggs at home in L.A.Jason Nocito Larry David, Post Malone, André 3000—Nocito's portfolio of GQ shoots is a wild ride with a gang of extraordinary figures. But in times like these, who's more extraordinary than your own family? Nocito's been documenting his through the crisis from home in L.A. What's been his experience during this historic moment? "Pure example of powerlessness," he says. Richard Powers
The Pulitzer-winning novelist speaks with GQ's Brett Martin about his solitary life at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, where he's writing (about a virus!) and contemplating the present moment as both a reckoning and an opportunity.
David Levenson/Getty Images
How does one manage to work in the face of fear and anxiety?This is a matter of life and death for a huge part of the country, and that can't be overlooked. We're not going to come out of this with the same degree of nonchalance or willful ignorance about the large percentage of our country whose lives are so vulnerable. But there's also a strange sense of vitality I've been witnessing: people tapping into creative reservoirs.
Do you have faith that it will survive past the extremity of this moment?Humanity never comes out of calamities the way it went into them. Do I think this is the end of capitalism? No. Do I think the oil industries are going to pay a tremendous price and that that leaves space for conversion to renewable energy? Yeah. There are all kinds of ways this sudden cessation of the cycles of consumption is going to produce different responses to how we, to use the crude phrase, "start the country up" again. And if you think of the pandemic as a kind of sped-up version of this huge crisis of climate change, those arguments that said "We can't stop; it's too costly" are blown out of the water. I think this moment will give strength to those who have argued that all we need is the will to live differently to bring about true social and economic and political change.
My book keeps coming back to this passage from Thoreau's notebooks: "Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." We, for however long it lasts, have had to resign ourselves to the reality of living systems and the revenge of the living planet. And we are also possibly reaping the benefits of that more reflective mode of being that self-isolation brings about. –Brett MartinFor more, including why Richard Powers is planning to rework his half-finished book, go here
Fanny Latour-Lambert's boyfriend, Cabinet Chatoyant, in her apartment in Paris.
Fanny Latour-Lambert For a recent GQ feature, the Paris-based fashion photographer captured the greatest distance runner on the planet, marathoner Eliud Kipchoge, as one of the most elegant. Now she's turning her camera on the only willing subject she has, her boyfriend, tattoo artist Cabinet Chatoyant. What's her experience of the crisis been? "It fluctuates between me enjoying this guilt-free time to relax and just be lazy," she says, "and me wanting my life back very badly."
Robert Pattinson self-portrait, taken in April while in isolation in London.Shirt (price upon request), by Dior Men Robert Pattinson
Nobody in Hollywood is more suited to thriving during lockdown than June cover star Robert Pattinson. That is, if he can keep from burning down his kitchen.
Robert Pattinson is in London with his girlfriend, in the apartment the Batman folks rented for him. Still eating meals the Batman folks are providing, though the other day he got nervous, that they might just stop or forget. Or were the owners of his apartment going to need it back? He'd come to London with, like, three T-shirts. The rest of his stuff, he says, is in his place in Los Angeles, where he actually lives. His internet in London is in and out. His laptop mostly isn't working. He has two phones, one of which is getting reception, and so the whole system is now running off whatever two or three bars that one phone is getting when he can find it: "Every internet device is operating on this 3G, like, iPhone 4."
The film studio hired a trainer who left Pattinson with a Bosu ball, a single weight, and a sincere plea to use both, but right now, he says, he's ignoring her. "I think if you're working out all the time, you're part of the problem," he says, sighing. By "you" he means other actors. "You set a precedent. No one was doing this in the '70s. Even James Dean—he wasn't exactly ripped." He says that back when he was the star of the Twilight franchise, "the one time they told me to take my shirt off, I think they told me to put it back on again." But Batman is Batman. Pattinson called another actor on the film, Zoë Kravitz, the other day, and she said she was exercising five days a week during their exile from set. Pattinson, well: "Literally, I'm just barely doing anything," he says, sighing again.
It's possible that you couldn't build a person more suited to this experience. Pattinson, who turned 34 in May, has spent his adult life separating himself from the rest of the world. —Zach Baron
Katherine Bernhardt, Gracias a dios y Pepsi #staysafe, Spray paint on concrete brick wall, 10' x 10'Photograph: Courtesy of Katherine Bernhardt Katherine Bernhardt
The New York City painter has been in Antigua, Guatemala, making murals and mingling with exotic birds by the pool.
Katherine Bernhardt's self-portrait, drawn in less than one minute.Courtesy of Katherine Bernhardt
What kind of work have you been making?I have been working on painting items from popular culture in Guatemala and things found around Antigua. Coffee Mate is popular at the breakfast table here, so I've been painting it. It's hard to find, though, since birds here swoop onto the table and fly off with it in their beaks. They prefer it to any of the other types of sugars and sweeteners available. I also found a Little Caesars pizza box in the street the other day while on a walk. I'm painting that too.
Where are you making work, and is that typical or unique to this situation?I love working outside and working at different spots around the hotel grounds. The vibe feels kind of like scenes when Penélope Cruz is painting from the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, one of my favorite movies!
To what degree would you say the work that you're making is at all "about" the crisis?Some of it is about the crisis (the mural), and some works on paper focus on it. And all of it is about Guatemala, where I am unexpectedly located, thanks to the borders being closed.
What have you been reading, watching, and/or listening to?I read the local daily newspaper, Prensa Libre. To put this crisis in perspective, I have recently reviewed the introduction in Boccaccio's The Decameron and am about to read El amor en los tiempos del cólera, by Gabriel García Márquez. And I have just finished bingeing Tiger King. And I am listening to my usual music: Bad Bunny.
The comedians caught up via Zoom—Megan from her apartment in Brooklyn.Photograph by Nick Stalter
Catherine from her boyfriend's family's place in the Berkshires.Photograph by Brian Muller Megan Stalter & Catherine Cohen
The alt-comedy queens are transforming Instagram Live into a comedy club for the COVID-19 era. GQ's Luke Leifeste got hold of them to discuss how social distancing is making social media more powerful—and humor more vital.
Catherine Cohen: How is quar going for you, baby girl?
Megan Stalter: I'm very up and down. I'll be crying for two hours and then on Instagram Live dressed as a farmer.
CC: Raise your hand if you cry-sobbed today. [Both raise hands] Okay, switching gears. What's the role of com in a pandem?
MS: It's helped watching my friends' IG Lives, but it is crazy how many people go Live at night now.
CC: If I don't go Live, I'll vaporize.
MS: We all have to do whatever we can to make ourselves and other people feel good.
Photograph by Brian Muller
Photograph by Nick Stalter
CC: You do so much crowd work in your set. Are you able to do that on Live?
MS: You know how you can let people in the video with you? Now I have regular people, and I'll be like, "Oh, they're back."
CC: The comment feature is cool, but it lags so much. There's not the immediacy of a crowd. I miss that goo-goo-ga-ga laughter.
CC: My mom tuned in and commented, "I feel like I'm watching you as a little girl in the living room putting on your little dances." I'm like, "Mom, tug at my heartstrings in front of all my followers!"
MS: I got teary-eyed watching you. Even though this is horrible, it's like, "Oh, this is what we're meant to do because we won't stop."
CC: I'm never gonna stop singing in my house. Do you feel like we're gonna be in a coffee-table book about this time?
MS: [laughs, then very seriously] Yes.
CC: You're in a coffee-table book. You're being taught in history classes.
MS: I miss you so much.
CC: Talking to you is the only medicine I need.
Tim Blum (left) and Jeff Poe, by Blum & Poe artist Julian Hoeber.Artwork: © Julian Hoeber, courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo Blum & Poe
The L.A. gallery veterans have an air of indie swagger that's rare in the big-money art world. Now they're reconsidering the role of the gallery and imagining a new kind of art-viewing experience.
Galleries like Blum & Poe serve a certain civic role, given that five days a week anyone can walk through their doors and vibe on the culture. With stay-at-home orders currently in place, Jeff Poe, cofounder of the gallery with Tim Blum, believes it's time to retool existing protocols. "Shifting online is what's happening out of necessity," he says. "But we can only see art on a flat screen. Scale is lost. It's harder to feel. End of the day, the engagement is, and always will be, fundamental."
At the same time, says Blum, the business they went into the pandemic with might look quite different from the one that comes out of it. "Random ideas have come to me," Blum says, including live music and other events, or pop-up food nights. "I've also been thinking about the restaurants who don't have any clear future when this passes. Perhaps we lend our gallery to chefs and restaurants to do a meal where they get the majority of the benefits? Be a nice way to create community and a kind of bridge to healing."
For now, however, both remain optimistic that on the other side of this bomb blast the art world might ease off its Wall Street–fueled fever state and angle back toward something more in line with the way things were when they first hung their shingle: "Hopefully the communication and dialogue around art will go back to content and quality as value over the economics of the art market," Blum says. "And there will be a return to the primordial nature of our feelings about art, as well as a focus on authentic content and a desire for the experience of art to be one of a road toward healing and consciousness." Poe's predictions are punctuated by a punk, pragmatic flavor. "Galleries will have a heightened online presence by presenting more supplemental content, as we are seeing now. I do think this will stay. But ultimately that conversation is secondary. I like my content live," he says. "You want to watch porno or make love?" —Arty Nelson
A version of this story originally appears in the June/July 2020 issue with the title "Creativity in the Time of Quarantine".