Not only are people turning to art during these uncertain times, but they are becoming art. As was mentioned in one of our previous blogs, social media has become one of the main modes of keeping in touch with our friends, loved ones, and even our favorite art museums. We have increasingly begun to rely on digital methods of communication to reach and connect with each other in the time of social distancing. On March 14, 2020, a new social media challenge was born to fight the boredom of COVID-19 quarantine. Started by the Instagram account @tussenkunstenquarantaine (“between art and quarantine”), the challenge was to use three objects found at home to recreate a work of art, and then share it on social media with the appropriate tag, which the account would then share with their network of followers. Art lovers and museums quickly adopted the challenge and presented it to their own social communities, using tags like #MetTwinning, #MetAnywhere, and #betweenartandquarantine so they could be notified as to who is participating.
The Rijksmuseum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Trust are several notable cultural institutions that shared the same idea with their followers, and the social media challenge took off! It evolved from using three items found around the house to people getting creative with face paint, dressing in elaborate costumes, using pets in photos, and, of course, a whole lot of toilet paper. Take a look at several examples here and here! Examples include the recreation of famous works like Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Frida Khalo’s Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, and even Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, with participants curled up on the floor in the shape of a smoking pipe.
Even one of our MIR team members participated in the challenge, using Rembrandt Peale’s Self-Portrait, pictured to the right (done outside work hours, of course!).
Art is even being brought to pets. A couple in London who owned two gerbils dedicated four hours of work to creating a miniature art gallery for their small furry friends to visit. The recreated artworks were Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Leonardo DaVinci’s Mona Lisa, and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Each piece had a slight alteration, catering to its guests. Instead of humans, the art pieces featured gerbils kissing, screaming, posing, and showing off their jewelry. This also has evolved into a new social media trend: creating art-focused spaces for small pets. A student in Texas even created an art gallery for her gecko!
These challenges are certainly an entertaining activity for passing the time at home, but they also serve a greater purpose. A museum’s goal is to promote community and connectedness with our fellow humans, and what better way to do this than to have everyone engaging with art together in creative ways! Through these challenges and social media trends, art fans are collaborating with roommates, family members, and pets while getting dressed in elaborate costumes, scouring their homes for the perfect objects, painting their faces, and getting creative while contributing to a new form of art appreciation. Now, more than ever, we look to the Internet to connect with one another, and with our heads turned towards screens to interact with the rest of our world, we can see ourselves as our favorite works of art while participating with a global community.