Museum lets Animal Crossing players import its art collection

You can’t visit the Getty Museum in California right now thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, but fear not art fans, as you now have an alternative way to visit. Albeit virtual and rather pixelated.

Thanks to the custom designs feature in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it’s possible to download patterns created by other players – and the Getty has taken advantage of this to let anyone download art from its collection (thanks, Polygon).

Over 70,000 pieces of artwork have been uploaded to the Getty’s Animal Crossing Art Generator, where users can search for specific pieces or painters, crop the artwork, and convert it into an easily-downloadable QR code for Animal Crossing. Simply scan the QR code using the Nintendo Switch companion app for smartphone, download the design via your NookPhone, and bang – Van Gogh’s on your wall. It’s even possible to upload artwork from other museums using IIIF (technology used by museums and art galleries to show art online).

Obviously there are limitations to how this works: the artwork is pretty low-res, and you can only download paintings in a square crop, meaning you can’t have some of the wacky sculptures and displays you’d typically find in a gallery. Still, it’s a sweet idea to get players engaged with the art world, and I’m considering starting up my own gallery to entertain my friends. Should keep me occupied until some catchable pollock come into season.