Experiencing art in the days of the pandemic, like most things, has become virtual. While “stationary” museums are now closed, art institutions have gotten creative to offer people an art experience. Last spring, the Getty Museum invited the Internet to browse its online collection and recreate artworks at home.
Art lovers rose to the challenge and creatively used common objects and roommates as props for their imaginative reproductions. Nothing has been spared – pets, children, bath towels, toilet paper, and the occasional paint – all tools used to perform these magical transformations. The results were shared on social media and the hilarity went viral. Of course, our favorites were dogs in outstanding roles.
However, the Getty Museum came up with the idea of Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, a Dutch Instagram whose name means “between art and quarantine”. They have been sharing home-made leisure activities for months, as has Covid Classics – a popular Instagram with “four roommates who love art … and are being quarantined indefinitely”. The Getty Challenge has even found its way into popular Facebook groups in Russia and Spain, where people continue to share as famous paintings.
These visual replicas are far more than just a prank. They challenge the participants to use their creative manual labor and imagination. They act as puzzles, forcing people to look closely at the art, analyzing composition, color and shapes and imitating these formal elements with common objects. While the results can provoke laughter, one must appreciate the ingenuity and creativity behind these homemade tributes to historical works of art. These challenges are also causing people to engage with one another, if only virtually, to share their creations and to fill some of the void the pandemic has left. And for some lucky dogs … virtual fame.