The Twitter account TabloidArtHistory sets out with a pretty clear mission: pair tabloid snapshots with the pieces of fine art they most clearly resemble. It’s only been around since Sunday and already found 58 such pairings, but the results so far are consistently incisive. The easy argument here would be to disparage modern pop culture as unfitting to be juxtaposed with these artworks, and, indeed, some of the tweets could be read that way, even if the similarities are striking.
When the celebrity is Donald Trump, and the artist is Francis Bacon, the caustic reading is completely appropriate.
However, the pairings also often operate from a point of empathy, or even subversion, wielding the ferocity and scope of the purportedly high art to lend power to the celebrity.
Some of the best offer readings through multiple lenses; here’s Kim as our Aphrodite.
How long can the account keep this up? The willingness to pull celebrity images from throughout the recent past, rather than just current ones, and to pair with art from all eras, suggests there’s a whole lot more where this came from.