There’s not a lot about this spring that we can really look back on with fondness. But the Getty’s viral art challenge left us laughing and impressed, so we’re glad we have another excuse to revisit it.
In late March, shortly after the announcement of its temporary closure, the museum put a call out on its social media channels for people to re-create a work of art with whatever they had in their homes (think: Starry Night made out of spaghetti or The Creation of Adam with pups touching paws). The submissions poured in, and now, over 100,000 at-home masterpieces later, the Getty is assembling its favorites into a book.
Off the Walls features 246 re-creations, each paired with the works that inspired them. In some cases, a piece is shown opposite a single re-creation, say Leonardo da Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man next to a desaturated photo of two dolls stacked on top of each other. But for some more popular pieces, you may find a setup like Edvard Munch’s The Scream opposite a page of nine photos of homages made of fabric or food.
The paperback edition (also available as an e-book) goes on sale September 22 for $14. And all profits will go to Artist Relief, which has been offering emergency grants to artists around the country.
Getty Publications supplied us with an early look at the book, and after scanning through it we were reminded just how cleverly so many of these submissions captured the sheer boredom of our stay-at-home lives—and the luxury status of toilet paper and flour.
It also has some staggeringly polished portraits and still lifes that put our unrefined selfies to shame.
The book is broken up into categories like “Home, Sweet Home,” “Strike a Pose,” “Culinary Arts” and “Child’s Play.” But by far our favorite is the “Creature Comfort” section—or really any re-creation that uses adorable animals.
The Getty’s Sarah Waldorf and Annelisa Stephan, who launched the social media challenge following a similar one from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, write in the book’s preface that Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring, Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Munch’s The Scream were particularly popular inspirations. That popularity was largely responsible for the project’s jump from social media to book. The challenge launched on March 25, and barely a week later, a staff designer had already pitched assembling the best entries into a book. A typical Getty Publications book takes 18 to 24 months to produce, but this one came together much quicker: The concept was approved in late April and the first copies are due in their warehouse in early August, with copies set to be on shelves in September.