This may be a familar scene to some of you. You’re at a new bar or a house party of a friend of a friend of a friend, and the place is hideous. Bad, ratty carpeting, lighting that makes everyone look like ill and sunken-in, scratched-up furniture, a couple of creepy antiques or piles that look like gateway drugs to a Hoarders episode. And then, in a corner of the kitchen or above the TV tuned to one of those Music Choice stations, there it is: a beautiful piece of art, a captivating painting, something that is a true breath of fresh air compared to the faux-Toulouse-Lautrec literally every one of your friends ever has. And you think, how can something so beautiful exist in a place so otherwise aesthetically displeasing? And why does this happen?
Great Art in Ugly Rooms is a half-one note Tumblr, half visual experiment that explores that artistic dissonance by ‘shopping the great works of past and present into objectively hideous spaces. A stunner from Marilyn Minter sticks out like a sore thumb in a room full of garish loveseats; a de Kooning stands sentinel over a tossed, bare mattress in a space that looks creepy and abandoned, one of Roy Lichtenstein’s pop-art steaks sits, perhaps appropriately, next to an open, empty casket. There’s Vermeer in garages, Cezanne next to moldy curtains and, perhaps most disturbingly of all, Damien Hirst in what appears to be a child’s bedroom. The results are sometimes disturbing, but generally pretty fascinating. Take some time to scroll through them, and be sure to visit the companion, Great Video Art in Ugly Rooms, as well.