High Art And Low Comedy Collide With Tabloid Art History


Tabloid Art History (TAH) is an invaluable public service provided by Elise Bell, Chloe Esslemont and Mayanne Soret, based in the UK. It is Internet perfection in two ways: 1. TAH is a FREE online art journal; 2. the TAH staff curates the Twitter page @TabloidArtHist, “comparing the best of pop culture to a broad range of art historical references.” If you feel dead inside whilst giving your soul and clicks to the Kardashians, then following Tabloid Art History is your remedy. Various images of sloppy pop divas (Britney Spears), media whores (Kimye), and paparazzi subjects snapped stuffing their unaware faces in restaurants are paired with exquisite masterpieces, offering momentary art history lessons to swipe up. Lindsay Lohan’s infamous mugshot is matched with “Woman in Red with Decorated Hat” by Lee Godie (1960), and although the latter is a painterly expression of abstract naiveté, the resemblance to Botox-lipped Lohan is remarkable. TAH cleverly splits a canvas with a Britney Spears 2007 photo at a Del Taco drive-thru, grabbing a greasy bag, with Caravaggio’s “David with the Head of Goliath” (1607, 400 years prior!), the visuals so identical in composition that if the images were superimposed, Goliath’s bloody decapitated noggin would become one with the sack of Del Classic Chicken Burritos and Macho Nachos. It’s Britney, bitch! Besides the traditional tabloid pics, TAH uses screen grabs from Real Housewives, Mad Men, and even scenes of nightclub debauchery—a 1978 photo of Grace Jones feeding cake to a reclined Divine at a New York disco is shown to be an incidental recreation of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” (1510).

As “advocates for the practice of art history and the importance of visual literacy,” TAH’s work is to unite pop culture and art history.

So, like Britney, you can consume your visual can of Pringles and expand your intellect at the same time. Thank you, @TabloidArtHist, for your edifying concept.


Here’s Britney showing off her unique painting talents:


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