Cultured Magazine

February/March 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 172 of 227

K I M B E R LY D R E W @MUSEUMMAMMY #CULTUREDMAG CULTURED 171 In 2011, Kimberly Drew went online to search for some of the artists she had discovered during a college internship at The Studio Museum in Harlem. The search returned little information about the expansive practices of contemporary black artists working today. So while studying art history at Smith College, Drew decided to launch "Black Contemporary Art," a Tumblr with a mission to share and contextualize works of art. "I started the blog looking for a blog like it," explains Drew, who also co-manages The Metropolitan Museum of Art's social media channels, including the one-million-follower Twitter account, as their associate online community producer. "I just couldn't believe there wasn't a repository for black artists online already." Drew has shared nearly 6,000 posts of images, videos, quotes and essays by milling through recent acquisitions and exhibitions. The volume of the ever-expanding digital library has positioned her site as a resource for educators and curators interested in historicizing contemporary artists of African descent. "What I am trying to do is to help establish parameters for some canonization," she says. Drew's digital dexterity comes naturally: As a former communications assistant at The Studio Museum, she increased digital impressions across social media channels to just north of one million users. "When you have to bounce around the whole Internet so much time is lost," she says. "So one could come to the site and search for artists and find them in one place." Over the last five years, "Black Contemporary Art" has amassed a following of nearly 200,000, turning it into a digital art gallery. It is helping to reshape the ways in which artists and audiences are represented and interact. Drew's platform functions as a digital community that invites audiences of color to see art that reflects their experiences. Drew has also leveraged crowd sourcing to involve followers in the curating of content. She allows them to submit works to be added to the growing online archive. It gives them a direct say in what they want to see and what they deem visually important in ways traditional museum programming does not. The platform also connects artists who rarely show in galleries and museums with audiences. "Black Contemporary Art" has made it a part of its mission to feature digital artists in their native environment. In 2014, the site launched a call for #BlackLivesMatter– related works and has shared a guided meditation video by digital artist Elizabeth Mputu honoring the late Sandra Bland and an essay by photographer Rin Johnson on Michael Brown. The effort shows the potential for online platforms to directly link the artist's voice in real time to everyday life. "My position in the art world did not exist five years ago," says Drew, who also uses her personal Facebook, Twitter and nearly 100,000-follower Instagram account to promote black artists. As a testament to her digital prowess, actress Lena Dunham recently uploaded a selfie of Drew to her Instagram account, captioning that if her 2.3 million followers weren't following Drew's @museummammy account they were "missing worlds of magic and knowledge!" "As a person using digital technology, I can speak directly to museums and art history—and self- publish my ideas," says Drew. "It's really cool that I can present artists that I care about and see the benefit of sharing their work." —Antwaun Sargent POWER PLAY "My position in the art world didn't exist five years ago." • • HANS ULRICH OBRIST @HANSULRICHOBRIST, 117K KLAUS BIESENBACH @KLAUSBIESENBACH, 188K NANCY SPECTOR @NESPECTOR, 97.8K These three veteran curators have influenced many a white wall, yet their Insta-presence may leave the most indelible mark. PHOTO BY NAIMA GREEN ; YOUSSEF NABIL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cultured Magazine - February/March 2016