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11 Fun, Silly, Weird and Far Out Monet Tributes

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Today would have been Claude Monet’s 172nd birthday, so in honor of one of the world’s most influential impressionists, here are a few tributes to his famous works of art.

1. Land of Misfit Toys

We just had an article about recycled art yesterday, but we didn’t include Tom Deininger, another talented artist specializing in the use of discarded toys. Here’s what happens when a pile of old plastic toys and trash come together to form “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies.” While most of the pieces are too small to see without coming in for a more detailed shot, you can probably at least spot the Sponge Bob Squarepants toy in the top right.

2. Modern Art

It’s hard to say if Monet would've approved of Banksy’s graffiti or his political message, but there’s no doubt that Banksy has been inspired to some extent by the impressionist. In fact, he has even taken to recreating Monet’s classic “Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies” with the modern addition of abandoned shopping carts and traffic cones sitting in the waterway. The name of the doctored piece? “Show Me the Monet.”

This piece is one of many that the famous graffiti artist has snuck in and hung in famous art galleries and museums around the world.

3. Toon Tribute

The Simpsons have mimicked just about every top artist of the last 2000 years and seeing Bart get a ride along the artist’s famous garden bridge only serves to show just how relevant Monet’s work remains in modern times.

4. Having A Ball

Claude Cormier & Associates Inc. used over 90,000 plastic balls to create this amazing replica of the wisteria blooms that Monet was so fond of painting throughout the years. The creation was designed to help Le Havre celebrate their Contemporary Art Biennale with a tribute to the city’s most famous native.

5. Building Blocks

It’s hard to capture a lot of detail in a Lego creation, but the blurriness of this remake of Monet’s 1873 “Impression, Soleil Levant” by William Keckler only makes it a more suitable tribute to the impressionist.

6. 8-Bit Impressionism

Ever wish you could see what Monet’s work would look like if it were recreated in the 8-bit video game world of the past? Well, artist Jaebum Joo is here to help by reinterpreting “Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, facing left” as a classic game image.

7. Dutch Treat

These days, you aren’t anyone if you haven’t had an artistic cake designed to look like you or your work. Fortunately, Flickr user Megpi helped further secure Monet’s place in history with this lovely recreation of his famous “Tulip Fields With The Rijnsburg Windmill.”

8. Nerd Alert

Like cake dedications, any famous artist of the past is destined to have a few geek interpretations of their work. This “Darth Vader With A Parasol” painting by David Barton is a perfect blend of classic Monet and 20th century pop culture.

9. Meow-nay

Not even a classic impressionist like Monet can escape the internet’s cat obsession. Here is artist Svetlana Petrova’s take on “Haystacks at Giverny” with her little Zarathustra taking over for the haystack.

10. Invasion

What happens when Voltron invades “Les Coquelicots a Argenteuil?” Well, while you might expect a lot of screaming and terror at the sight of the giant robot, according to artist Hillary White, things seem to go on pretty much as usual—just with a massive robot blocking out much of the scenery.

11. The Comic Connection

To help promote the release of The Avengers, Marvel decided to publish a number of variant covers for some of their most popular titles this April. All of the titles were inspired by famous artworks of the past and while this variant of Avengers Assemble #2 by Stephanie Hans doesn’t seem to be based on any particular Monet painting (although it could be one I’m just not familiar with), it’s immediately obvious that the style was definitely inspired by the impressionist’s great body of work.

What do you guys think of these tributes? Are they sad attempts at capitalizing on the work of one of the world’s most famous artists? Or are they fitting dedications to someone who has influenced the art world so, so much? Also, if you happen to know of any other tributes not listed here, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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