“Like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said when tasked with defining pornography, ‘I know it when I see it.’” That’s how one of the founding duo of Great Art in Ugly Rooms explains what constitutes an "ugly room". When it comes to identity, they remain reticent, but their images of iconic chef d’oeuvres contrasted with peeling paint and off-white 70s furniture have caused a stir online.
The "ugly" is everywhere: corporate offices, dilapidated bedrooms, louche launderettes. These two just put their twist on it. “I find images, I shoot pictures, and people I don't even know give me images,” says one of the anonymous founders. “All I do is decide what I like and get them together. Now that it's ‘a thing’, I might as well go ask some museum or something if I can borrow their art during their lunch break,” they joke. A quick Wikipedia search yielded most of these prominent names, and a copy-paste into an ugly room gave the art breathing space. The images may be fabricated, but the art is all original (and expensive). “I don't know how much money things cost, but I sure as hell know I can't afford it.”
“If it makes people laugh, especially those who can't afford the art we like, then I know I've done something good in this world”
Expanding their artistic horizons through the selector tool in Photoshop led to more than just laughs. “I expected some sort of response, but underestimated the overwhelming positivity in the communication that the work has generated,” says one of the founders. “I thought some of my friends would think it's funny, but it went all intercontinental haywire on me,” chimes in the other. “If it makes people laugh, especially those who can't afford the art we like, then I know I've done something good in this world.”
Text by Trey Taylor