Art in Popular Culture


In the art world, prices have skyrocketed despite the economic crisis, immersive experiences have drawn crowds during a global pandemic, and something known as “non-fungible tokens” has become the most coveted piece of art in the world. Popular culture seems more art-world-curious than ever before.

There are lots of examples of art references in pop culture:

  • Pop stars filmed music videos in museums;
  • companies have tried to turn artist partnerships into a cultural cache;
  • Celebrities have become experts in crypto art overnight.

In this article, we’ve assembled the most notable moments of art references in pop culture.

Celebrities Go  Ape for NFTs

A photo NFT influencer Cozomo de’ Medici tweeted of themselves with singer Jason Derulo.

The list of notable names who entered into the NFT game is rather long:

  • Jay-Z;
  • Quentin Tarantino;
  • David Lynch;
  • Emily Ratajkowski;
  • Paris Hilton.

 The celebrity claims are breathtaking, testifying to the wild kinetic energy that the world of crypto art has been able to conjure up in a culture, seemingly overnight. Even Melania Trump now has an NFT platform.

MSCHF’s Collaboration With Lil Nas X

MSCHF’s “Satan Shoes,” created in collaboration with Little Nas X. Courtesy of MSCHF.

In 2021, art collective MSCHF has abandoned its most controversial project to date: “Satan Shoes”, a series of 666 pairs of Nike Air Max sneakers with droplets of real human blood applied to the soles of each shoe. They were a spiritual sequel to the group’s 2019 effort, “Jesus Shoes”—a series of kicks injected with holy water from the River Jordan. Released on the eve of Passover and along with the video for Lil Nas X’s new song “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”, a three-minute biblical fever dream in which the musician kneels to the devil. The shoes were sold out in less than a minute.

Halsey’s 13-Minute Trip Around the Met

Halsey at the base of the Met main stairs with the album art of “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.” Courtesy of the artist’s Instagram.

Drake wasn’t the only pop star with surprising example of art references in pop culture. To unveil her record cover, Halsey filmed a 13-minute video of her pregnant and walking through the empty halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European galleries, stopping to meditate on various paintings of the Virgin Mary.

The Main Films that Hit the World of Art

A still from Candyman (2021). © Parrish Lewis/Universal Pictures and MGM Pictures.

It’s not just the small screen that appeals to the world of art. A number of major films have also done so, including Red Notice, an action movie about wanted art thieves that turned out to be the most-watched Netflix production of all time and a good example of art in movies, Candyman, the latest example in a recent string of Hollywood horror films that use the art world.

Art Inspired Fashion Designers

Linda Evangelista in a ‘Warhol Marilyn’ gown by Gianni Versace, 1991; with The Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent, fall/winter 1965 collection; and a dress from the resort collection by Alexander McQueen, 2013

Throughout history, fashion and art have gone hand in hand, creating a great mix. Many fashion designers have borrowed ideas from art movements for their collections, allowing us to interpret fashion as a form of art. There is a huge number of examples of art-inspired fashion:

  • Madeleine Vionnet: A Fashion Designer That Channeled Ancient History;
  • Valentino And Hieronymus Bosch;
  • Dolce & Gabbana And The Baroque Of Peter Paul Rubens;
  • El Greco’s Mannerism And Cristobal Balenciaga;
  • Yves Saint Laurent, Mondrian And De Stijl, and so on.


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