Steve Brodner sat in his Upper West Side art studio in the spring of 2020, absorbing the obituaries as the whir and cry of dead-of-night ambulances broke the city’s disquieting silence. It was all moving too fast.

Day after day, name after name, he couldn’t shake the sense that COVID-19 victims were dying in waves too great for them to be properly appreciated. As the lockdown lasted, he thought: “We’re losing these people and they’re really important, even though we’ve never heard of most of them.”

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