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The Getty's Call To Recreate Art At Home Is 'A Way To Make Sense Of These Crazy Times'

Recreation of the art piece "Male Harp Player of the Early Spedos Type" at the Getty Museum. Recreation by Irena Ochódzka with canister vacuum. (Courtesy of the Getty Center)
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Crisis has sparked creativity, and a quirky post by the Getty Museum asking people to use household items to recreate the museum's collection has become a worldwide phenomenon.

"I thought maybe if we got 30 submissions, that would be pretty great. It's got to be 30,000 or more,” said Annelisa Stephan, the Getty’s head of digital content strategy.

One of her favorites came from someone who copied a marble statue of a harp player using a vacuum cleaner.

“We've heard from folks that literally spent the entire day on this and I think it creates a sense of meaning,” said Stephan. "It's a way to make sense of these crazy times that we're in, and use the strange objects that we find ourselves surrounded with that we've collected over the years."

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The idea for the prompt came from a Dutch museum and the Instagram account Between Art and Quarantine, and was repurposed so people could use the Getty’s catalogue of nearly 150,000 pieces of art available to view online.

It was also a way for The Getty to keep its doors open virtually while its real-life doors are closed. (On Monday, it announced that public programs and special events at the Getty Center and Getty Villa will be postponed through August 31.)

“We heard from our audiences that they really missed museums as community places,” said Stephan, “so we were really thrilled when people not only began posting, but more importantly, cheering each other on and liking, favoriting and saying, 'I love this.'"

There are a few tips she has for when you recreate artwork, too, including trying to limit yourself to just three items for a challenge. Plus, when in doubt, roping in your pet can be a winner.

Listen to the full interview on our local news show Take Two, which airs on 89.3 KPCC:

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