This spring a very good thing happened on the Internet: people started turning themselves into art. Inspired by social media posts (including Getty’s) back in March, art lovers channeled the stir-crazy energy of COVID-19 quarantine into crafting themselves, their families, and their pets into masterpieces of world art and posting them online for all to enjoy.
The #GettyMuseumChallenge morphed into a worldwide digital exhibition, with re-creations popping up across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, blogs, news media, and lots of other e-places besides. By May there were already at least 100,000 re-creations, though it quickly became impossible to count.
Everyone found their own favorite art to re-create and their own favorite re-creation to cackle or shed a tear at; mine, for example, generally involve cats.
Folks in Getty’s social media community quickly started asking where they could see our favorite contributions. Social media marches on, but the challenge felt timeless — re-creating art is part of a long tradition, after all. We wanted to honor that connection and celebrate the creativity, ingenuity, and goodwill flowing in from all corners of the world. Should there be an exhibition? A live re-enactment? How about posting them all in an online database?
Enter our colleagues at Getty Publications, who have decided the issue with a format they call “a book.” A touch device made from trees and inks, it’s a highly portable 6 x 5 inches, or a bit smaller than an iPad Mini.
Off the Walls: Inspired Re-Creations of Iconic Artworks is $14. It will also be available as an e-book, which you can read on the glowing rectangle of your choice. Getty Publications is donating all profits to the charity Artist Relief to support artists facing financial emergencies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The book contains 246 re-creations, selected by Getty editors who combed through social media for funny, beautiful, poignant, and adorable re-creations, and grouped them into insightful themes. One thing you won’t find in the book, though, is ratings or favorites — picking your own personal faves is a big part of the fun.
For all of you who’ve contributed to the Getty Museum Challenge and all of you who’ve loved it, we hope the book will bring you a few new discoveries and a whole bunch of joy. To get your copy, visit the Getty Store.