Out with the key rings, umbrellas and bendy pencils. Museum gift shops now have a new must-have accessory that’s flying off the shelves: reusable face masks.
At the Tate in London and the Met in New York, makers have emblazoned some of the galleries’ most famous works on cloth. So have other major institutions from Los Angeles to Madrid via Amsterdam. And given many governments are now recommending, if not requiring, citizens wear them in indoor public spaces, that’s a very sensible (and potentially profitable) move.
Many also see in masks an easy way to raise funds to support their operations, like the struggling Klimt Villa studios in Vienna, which has already sold some 6,000. Others spy an opportunity to raise money for charity, like the Stedelijk Museum’s moth-like design by Carlos Amorales, from which the profits are being used to make masks for Mexican street workers.
Looking to cover up in style? Here are some of the coolest art-inspired masks from iconic museums and galleries around the world.
John Singer Sargent’s ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose’ at Tate Modern, London
Photograph: Tate Modern
Arnold Eagle’s ‘Pennsylvania Station’ (top) and Adolf Dehn’s ‘Spring in Central Park’ at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Photograph: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Rembrandt van Rijn’s ‘Self-Portrait Wearing a Cap, Wide-Eyed and Open-Mouthed’ at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
A handmade Gustav Klimt-inspired mask designed by his great-granddaughter at Klimt Villa, Vienna
Photograph: Klimt Villa
Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ at Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Elza Sutherland’s ‘Textile Design of Clustered Leaves, Diamonds, and Prisms’ at Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photograph: LA County Museum of Art
Carlos Amorales’s ‘Black Cloud’ at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Photograph: Iris Duvekot
A ‘psychedelic’ oval face mask at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at National Gallery, London
Photograph: National Gallery
Did you see plastic gloves and masks are already clogging up the world’s beaches?
Here are our top tips on how to wash and care for reusable cloth masks.