A New Book Collects the Best Recreated Artworks From the #GettyChallenge—and Reflects On Why the Project Resonated So Much

Édouard Manet, Jeanne (Spring) (1881). Re-creation: Jeannette Hulick.

This spring, as people around the world were acclimating to life in lockdown, the Getty Museum asked its social media followers to participate in a challenge. The rules were simple: recreate your favorite work of art with three items in your home and post an image of it online. 

You undoubtedly saw examples: bored quarantiners plotted out starry nights in dried pasta and aped the august ruffs of Old Master subjects using toilet paper rolls; they dressed their dogs up as pearl-earring’d girls and penciled in unibrows for Frida Kahlo selfies. 

The project was a rare example of visual art crossing over into the broad cultural consciousness on a massive scale. And what’s more, it managed to do so in a way that felt demonstrably inclusive, communal, and educational—adjectives that appear in just about every museum’s mission statement. 

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