When the pandemic hit and lockdowns began, my wife and I bunked down with my in-laws. The early days of life under lockdown were strange and stressful—there was so much we didn’t know yet about how this virus was moving, and everything suddenly felt dangerous and off-limits. And because our movements were limited and the safest place to be was inside, away from other people, we spent more hours than usual online, losing ourselves to social media. It was then when I learned of the “museum at home” challenge, first begun by the Instagram account @tussenkunstenquarantaine and then made popular by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The challenge was to re-create a work of art using only a handful of props, and then share it online.
It was a perfect distraction for me—I began combing through the archives of museums all over the world, looking for artwork to recreate. At first, I stuck to the classics—Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit, to name a few—and then Amy suggested I try a contemporary work, one by a still-living artist. Suddenly, a new set of choices emerged. I even got my in-laws to agree to join me in the first recreation, Keith Meyerson’s My Family. An hour after posting the recreated image (along with Keith’s painting) on my Instagram account, I was totally gleeful to discover a comment by Keith himself! The following day, he reposted my re-enactment on his Instagram account. And thus, my contemporary portrait series began.
“The Poser: 38 Portraits Reimagined” is the result of a year under pandemic lockdown. It includes a selection of the re-creations I made of contemporary artworks, as well as interviews with the artists and my own personal essays on the experience.