We’ve all had those moments where we’re watching a film or series with our art squad and then let out a little squeal when we spot a famous painting in the background, instantly whatsapping your besties to ask if they spotted it too. Art ladies Katharina Faller and Julia Meyer-Brehm decided to take it one step further, by highlighting all of these art history x film references in a series called Art Historians On Screen on both Katharina’s and Julia’s Instagram pages and we’re super obsessed. In fact, Katharina and Julia are inviting you to take part too, and would love our readers to participate by posting their #arthistoriansonscreen moments to the gram. Since we’re so obsessed with the initiative, we just had to talk to the girls about it!
How did the pair of you come together?
Katharina: We’re internet friends but we have a mutual real life friend.
Julia: We found each other through Instagram – I love the network for that!
How did you come up with the idea for Art Historians On Screen?
Katharina: The original inspiration was the Insta account @museumsinpopculture. Then in mid-December I rewatched “Notting Hill” and a Marc Chagall painting made an appearance. We chatted about that and the idea was born.
Julia: I immediately thought of that one scene from Oceans 11 that I told Katharina about. And shortly after that, we had a whole list of characters that came to mind.
How do you go about researching the art that pops up in film and TV?
Katharina: My lovely Insta community sends me recommendations. I also rely on my memory of films with art in it. That of course makes for a very subjective selection and I realized that I have been consuming mainly Central European and US American films and series until now. But there’s so much more beyond that!
Julia: Same here! As an art historian, one is naturally very receptive to characters that come from the art world. I’m right there with you, Katharina, about broadening perspectives – I want to work on that too!
What are your favourite moments of art on screen? What shows should we be watching to get our arty fix in pop culture?
Katharina: I’m currently obsessed with “In Art We Trust”, a German YouTube daily soap about the inner and outer struggles of a group of art students. Also I started watching “Saimdang – Memoir of Colours”, a South Korean series about a female art history PhD candidate standing up against the sexist discrimination in the field.
Julia: I love documentaries! Give them all to me – very worth watching are for example “Behind the Visible” about the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint or “Finding Vivian Maier”.
Katharina: I agree! “Behind the Visible” was a revelation: Who knew one of the pioneers of abstract art was a woman? Another great discovery is “The Worlds of Bernice Bing”, a documentary about the Chinese-American Lesbian painter.
Besides Art Historians on Screen, you are both art world professionals. Can you tell us a little about your day jobs?
Katharina: I’m graduating in Museum Management and communication this year. Working a student part-time job at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin’s Museum of Modern Art, I’m gaining experience in the field.
Julia: I’m currently working on my degree in art history and have a few years of gallery work behind me. However, I’m finding that writing about art and communicating it is much more fun.
You’re both based in Berlin, what’s the art scene like there?
Katharina: I love the small communal galleries and independent project spaces that reflect the international art scene here.
Julia: There is always something going on somewhere in Berlin, an exhibition, an intervention, a performance. So of course the competition is also very high. You should be able to divide yourself into four…
What have the pair of you been up to during lockdown?
Katharina: Watching performances and virtual museum tours on Insta.
Julia: Ate an incredible amount of peanut butter and wrote my master’s thesis.
What are your plans and hopes for the future of Art Historians On Screen?
Katharina: So far, most art historian characters on screen came from a very privileged place. I hope to discover a broader range of perspectives on art and art history beyond that – both on screen and in real life.
Julia: I look forward to participation from many more users from all over the world! Let’s talk more about the partly very great, partly very strange representation of #arthistoriansonscreen.
Katharina: Yes! Share your favourite art lovers on screen with us and let’s discuss what makes art and an art historian.