By Alexxa Gotthardt
Have you ever seen a cow twerk?
Neither had I—until last week, when a group of unconventional GIFs landed in my inbox. All of them were based on images of traditional landscapes, seascapes, and portraits from 18th and 19th centuries. Most of them were also really funny—the kind of thing I immediately shared with fellow art history nerds, the sort of people I knew would appreciate watching two stoic cows, painted in the mid-1800s, break into a booty dance.
The twerking cow GIF is the work of artist and animator Matthias Brown. It’s also one of a growing number of memes solicited by Art UK, a philanthropic organization that digitizes artworks in museum collections in the United Kingdom. The organization’s goal is to make art more accessible; many of the paintings its members digitize are housed in remote museums or relegated to storage, and therefore are rarely seen by the public.
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