As we leave a very difficult 2020 behind, we’re grateful to have had so many incredible voices as part of Magazine, and for the places their words, ideas, images, and music have taken us. We asked some of our contributors to share a wish for 2021 in a form of their choosing; something they’re looking forward to, something they hope for, or something they’d like to see. Their responses below show the connections we still find through art—and the uninhibited dancing in a crowd we still seek.
Image courtesy of Conrad Anker
Conor Bourgal, musician:
I am reading a great novel called The Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson. My wish for 2021 is that this becomes a massively popular book that you’d see on the coffee table in every home. This book encourages the kind of innovative thinking humanity needs. I also wish for all artists, musicians, and creative people to come out of this stressful time with healthy minds, so they can get back to making beautiful things.
Listen to “A Portable Embrace”
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem:
A wish for 2021: for a continued, widening arc of engagement, critical discourse, and art-work that is responsive to the seismic transitions of this present moment. This hope is that the growth and learning we have done together both in art and in the world over this past year continues to expand our perspectives and transform us alongside the transformations we see in the world.
Read “Re-Imaging America”
Faith Ringgold, artist:
I can’t imagine 2021 outside of my hope and dream of an end to COVID-19.
Explore Virtual Views: Faith Ringgold
Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, The Studio Museum in Harlem:
In a year that has brought so much radical change to so many people, my wish is for a 2021 that brings increasing clarity and perspective, inner calm and balance, alongside enduring attention and commitment to systems of creative and holistic care of workers and artists and art workers through and beyond institutional spaces. I’d also love to see it become possible to reconvene again on a dance floor as a collective celebration of continuing to hold and make space; the imagination and possibility there is one we’ve all longed for as we’ve sashayed across our living room floors alone with the speakers bumping at different points. Movement spurs thought and so my hope is for more ways to move—move our bodies, move one another, move the world.
Read “Re-Imaging America”
Andrew Solomon, writer:
Like everyone, I wish for the return of civility and liberalism in our national discourse and the retreat of the virus that is COVID and the sickness that is Trumpism. In addition, I wish for antidepressants that don’t have sexual side effects; my children’s recovery from the relative isolation that the virus has engendered; an honest reckoning with police brutality; more things sold with less packaging; travel; easeful death for people I love who are in decline; recovery for other people I know who are in decline; a boom market; more curiosity in my children; a release from the bonds of the screen for people who grow lonely as they interact with it; reduced anxiety; cures for what wants curing but not for anything else; art that is full of complex meaning but also looks nice on the wall; to stay the age I am a while longer; to keep my children from telling lies; to see the opioid epidemic stemmed rather than revenged; a pair of brown monk strap shoes; an end to global warming; peace in the Middle East; peace outside the Middle East; a new generation dedicated to equality but also respectful of merit; the end of the stigma around, indeed the word for, appropriationism; the rebuilding of the American educational system; beauty and truth in every day; a Pulitzer prize; a cure for psychosis; the cancellation of Brexit; a chance to go into orbital flight; the reuniting of separated children at the US border with their parents; immortality; the breakup of oppressive monopolies; athletic grace; and the ability, for me and everyone, to learn from human suffering.
Listen to “The Case for Artistic Genius”
John Jeremiah Sullivan, writer:
I figure the planet-level stuff is sort of obvious. Personally, though? That Shuhada Sadaqat (Sinead O’Connor) feel good and put out another record, that my 15-year-old start listening to me about her posture, that I get better about forgiveness and finishing things.
Read “Another Country” and listen to “The Deepest Cuts”
Wolfgang Tillmans, artist:
I don’t have a wish, per se, but I have a new song and video called “Can’t Escape into Space,” which is kind of a wish.
Listen to “On My Own”
Erin Williams, artist and writer:
Here’s my wish—I wish people would stop dying from COVID-19. I wish a vaccine was just a shot, a neutral thing that prevented a deadly disease. That’s a privileged position. Vaccines, like illnesses, are always loaded with cultural and political meaning. We are collectively deciding how much trust to place in our government institutions (and pharmaceutical companies), perpetrators of systemic white supremacy and violence against marginalized bodies. I hope we can trust these shots, and the trust is not broken. I hope we can be free.
Look at “Love Sick”
Joshua Yaffa, writer:
I wish that in 2021 we will be able look back on this strange and terrible year with relief and satisfaction that it’s over, and some pride—even joy—in how we and our friends and colleagues and neighbors responded to its many challenges with dignity, responsibility, solemnity, but also creativity and humor. And that the habits and abilities forged in crisis don’t leave us too quickly or fully.
Read “Can Drawing Be a Crime?”
Anicka Yi, artist:
My wish for 2021 is to de-center the human and to foreground the phenomenon within nature.
Read and watch “Cooking with Artists: Anicka Yi”