Where art meets quarantine

Shutterstock.com/ vladimir salman

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Many artists have found strange ways to keep in the hearts and minds of their followers during the coronavirus lockdown. As many are found in places where crowds usually gather (concerts, museums, etc) and these are places that they are are no longer allowed to operate they have had to find a new way to reach audiences. 

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Artists have taken up the challenge in many unique and interesting ways. We have seen numerous bands release special live performances online. Some of the most famous bands in the world like The National and Radiohead have released previously unseen footage of incredible concerts with the members of the band appearing in the live chat during the performance. Other artists have done special in-home performances for their followers. Lisa Hannigan is one singer-songwriter who has put on a number of performances and gone to the effort of recording her songs while she plays multiple instruments and performs multiple roles in harmonies to replace her missing band. The incredible performances have been enjoyed by many all for free, although most are donating to charities in lieu of paying for a ticket.

One initiative run by the J.Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles has been so well received that many posts related to it have gone viral. The museum set a challenge for its followers to think of their favorite artwork, find some items lying around their home, and recreate the artwork in strange and obscure ways. The results have been incredible. Our favorite post has to be the recreation of ‘Madonna and child’ which sees a woman placing a blanket over her head and her pet pug looking at her with the same awe that the child adores Madonna with, in the original painting. 

The other popular approaches have tried to include toilet paper in their work given its recent popularity. In another Madonna and Child parody, one woman is holding four rolls of toilet paper with the caption “hold on to what matters most” a clear joke about how many people reacted to quarantine by purchasing far too much toilet paper. 

While the Getty museum has made the idea spread worldwide it was a group of flatmates who started the craze in Amsterdam. They have launched an Instagram account called “between art and quarantine” where they recreate many famous paintings. There are now over 500 posts where people have sent in their recreations showing how obsessed people have become with this idea. 

The idea appears to still be picking up pace and we hope that it can become the new social media craze that takes everyone by storm. While April was the month for running 5k, and May was the month about killer bees, perhaps this month can be about our love of art.

If you want to take part in the craze simply think of your favorite picture, find some household items, and recreate the picture. You get extra points (points are purely fictional) for creativity. One of our favorites has to be the recreation of ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’ where only a banana skin and the contents of a sandwich were used to make a pretty excellent recreation. If you want to be truly original have a look through the Instagram page Tussenkunstenquarantaine which means between art and quarantine in dutch to make sure no one has recreated your idea already.

The way artists have embraced quarantine and used it as a new platform to spread beauty and inspiration is just one more positive to come out of this strange and sad time. We will make it through this tough period and when we do we will have a lot to be thankful for.