Remember when Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch dropped about a week into the worldwide quarantine and that was all everyone was playing while we navigated doom-scrolling and the adjustment to virtual school and work? Well, now that we can go out and about for the most part again, one TikToker is bringing Animal Crossing IRL with the aim of traveling around the world to chronicle all 43 artworks in fox-y art dealer Jolly Redd’s inventory.
London-based filmmaker and gamer Mayuren Naidoo (@mayplaystv) documented his global trek to 26 museums across 9 countries to visit all of the work featured in Animal Crossing: New Horizons in a TikTok series titled “animal crossing art irl.” Unlike the majority of forged works in Jolly Redd’s trove, all of these were the real deal (as far as we know 👀). Of the 43 pieces in the game, Naidoo has seen 36 so far.
In the game, the artworks’ titles, including but not limited to Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (c. 1665), Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” (1888), and Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” (1831), are sweetly anonymized with polite adjectives like “Wistful Painting,” “Flowery Painting,” and “Dynamic Painting.” These artworks can be purchased and donated to the game’s museum, but Jolly Redd’s sneaky dupes are not welcome, so players must take a closer look at each artwork for sale and cross-reference it with the real artwork to make sure they’re not purchasing something forged. Art imitates life, eh?
Naidoo actually compiled a list of all of the artworks’ real names and locations for his viewers to refer to if they’re interested in pursuing the same journey. Living in London, Naidoo was able to check off seven of the 43 artworks quite easily through visits to the National Gallery, the Courtauld Gallery, the Tate Britain, and the British Museum, all of which are in London. Afterward, he shuttled back and forth between France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, and finally the United States to see the remaining works. He has only seven works left to go.
Like everyone else, Naidoo was surprised when he saw that Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York was much smaller than he expected. On the other hand, he told Hyperallergic that seeing Michelangelo’s iconic marble masterpiece “David” (1504) at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, was his favorite because of its gargantuan size.
“Seeing it in real life was breathtaking,” he said.
Naidoo still has to go back to Paris to see Paul Cézanne’s “Apples and Oranges” (1899) and pay a visit to Japan to catch a glimpse of a Dogū statue and Itō Jakuchū’s “Rooster and Hen with Hydrangeas” (1759).