Experiencing art in the days of the pandemic, like most things, has become virtual. While “brick and mortar” museums are now closed, art institutions have gotten creative in devising ways to bring an art experience to people. This past spring, the Getty Museum invited the Internet to browse its online collection and re-create works of art at home.
Art lovers rose to the challenge, creatively using common objects and housemates as props in their imaginative reproductions. Nothing was spared—pets, children, bath towels, toilet paper plus the occasional paint—all were tools used to make these magical transformations. The results were shared on social media and the hilarity went viral. Our favorites, of course, featured dogs in prominent roles.
The Getty Museum, however, got the idea from Tussen Kunst & Quarantaine, a Dutch Instagram whose name means “between art and quarantine.” They have been sharing homemade recreations for months, as has Covid Classics—a popular Instagram featuring “four roommates who love art … and are indefinitely quarantined.” The Getty Challenge has even found its way into popular Facebook groups in Russia and Spain where people are continuing to share themselves as famous paintings.
Much more than a mere prank, these visual recreations challenge participants to tap into their creative handiwork and imagination. They act as puzzles, forcing people to look at the art closely, analyzing the composition, color and forms and mimicking these formal elements with common objects. While the results may elicit laughter, one must appreciate the resourcefulness and creativity behind these homespun homages to historical works of art. These challenges also prompt people to engage with one another, if only virtually, to share their creations and to help fill some of the void left by the pandemic. And for some lucky dogs … virtual stardom.