“I’m at Harvard now, and they’re, uh, they’re closing the campus, telling the kids not to come back after spring break.”

Four months ago, as the country realized its leaders had blown it with the global COVID-19 pandemic, I had director and screenwriter Kelly Reichardton the line to talk about “First Cow,” her wonderful film set in the wilds of an early 19th Century Columbia River settlement, in what is now Oregon.

It’s about two outsiders: one an Anglo cook, the other, an entrepreneural Chinese immigrant, and their unexpected success selling homemade “oily cakes.” The secret ingredient in those cakes, and the cow responsible for it, holds the key to this team’s future in a hostile new world. But secrets have a way of going public.

I love the film, as do many, and it was a particular bummer that Reichardt’s film, released by A24, opened in Chicago March 13,

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In 1918, when the world was plagued by the Spanish flu, artists tried to make sense of the world around them. Edvard Munch made lonely self-portraits, while Egon Schiele drew his mentor Gustav Klimt on his deathbed. Photographers captured empty streets and ghostly cityscapes, like Morton Schamberg’s rooftop views from 1917, to hospitals shot by the California photojournalist, Edward A “Doc” Rogers.

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging on, and the world in quarantine, the online exhibition Life During Wartime: Art in the Age of the Coronavirus hosted by the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, offers a window into what artists are up to right now.

Related: Signs of the times: how Douglas Coupland’s art came to life under coronavirus

By partly featuring artwork made since 5 March, the date the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, it shows how artists have responded to the

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