Bored in Self-Isolation, an Art-World Power Couple Built a Tiny Museum for Their Gerbils, Complete With Rodent Leonardos and Vermeers

See inside the dollhouse-sized museum here.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.
Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

The art offerings available on the internet have blossomed over the past few weeks, but the most delightful one may just be the new art museum for gerbils designed by a UK couple.

The gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisu—each named an Italian dessert—belong to Filippo Lorenzin, an independent curator who works at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and artist Marianna Benetti. On their 14th day in lockdown, the London-based couple spent about four hours crafting the miniature institution, all for the enjoyment of their nine-month-old pets. (Or possibly out of isolation-induced boredom.)

“The original idea was for a doll house,” Benetti told Artnet News. “We used cardboard, paper, and wood, ensuring that all the materials were safe for the gerbils.”

From what we can glean from the photo evidence, the gerbils were thrilled with their first museum-going experience, taking the opportunity to get up close and personal with the artwork—but ignoring signs that prohibit chewing.

The tiny museum gallery features adorable rodent-themed versions of famous artworks in tiny cardboard frames, with Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, Johannes Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The pitch perfect art parodies, which are Benetti’s handiwork, grace the walls of a white cube space, replete with viewing benches, helpful museum literature for the taking, and wall labels featuring QR codes.

As promised, this is the full video of our gerbils visiting the museum. No gerbils or gallery assistants were harmed in the making of this. from r/aww

After Pandoro and Tiramisu were set loose to explore, the couple captured the adorable museum visit on camera, sharing the footage on Reddit and assuring the public that “no gerbils or gallery assistants were harmed in the making of this.”

The clever project quickly went viral, but reports indicate that the gerbils haven’t let their new fame—or art education—go to their head. As for the museum’s founders, they are considering adding to their gerbil art collection soon. “The Reddit community gave us lots of new ideas,” said Benetti.

See more photos of the gerbil art museum below.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti created the Gerbil Art Gallery for their pets Pandoro and Tiramisu. Photo courtesy of the artists.

This adorable "Gerbil With a Peal Earring," inspired by the famed Johannes Vermeer painting, was created by Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti for the Gerbil Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of the artists.

This adorable Gerbil With a Peal Earring, inspired by the famed Johannes Vermeer painting, was created by Filippo Lorenzin and Marianna Benetti for the Gerbil Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of the artists.


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