DO YOUR RESEARCH: From Instagram to the Museum
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
The world wide web gave me the opportunity to be a digital art student outside of my traditional art education. It became a treasure trove of information that I could save, collect and come back to when I needed to. Some of the research was done for inspiration like looking for Black Women Photographers including Carrie Mae Weems and LaToya Ruby Frazier. While others I came across by happenstance, spending way to many hours on tumblr sifting through art blogs like Kimberly Drew’s Black Contemporary Art.
In fact it was tumblr where I first came across The Dandy Lion project. At the time I did not know it was curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis. She had been extensively researching and exhibiting this project since 2010. The photographs of the men in all of their regals from Brooklyn NY to Africa, smiling, not smiling with extravagant shades, with canes and umbrellas, immediately brought forth a moment of exposure. I felt seen.
It was like everything I was trying to articulate about the regalness, joy and pride for a Black Man to dress in this way, was right in front me.
The Dandy Lion project The first comprehensive exhibition of its kind, Dandy Lion: (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity provides an exploration of a popular conversation in nuanced contemporary sartorial expressions and the fluidity of cis-gender Black male masculinity. As a statement, it is not definitive. It is provocative and inquisitive – meant to provoke, indulge and glorify.
This year I want to BE with more art.
While I spent much time on internet researching artist and saving their work to a folder on my desktop, there was something missing. A connection with the work when seeing it in person, on the gallery or museum wall. There is so much more to engaging with the work of the artist than saving and liking their work on instagram. It is absolutely necessary as a patron of the arts to support the galleries, institutions and spaces that place the work of the artist on their walls.
And yes, it’s also great to be in the know through instagram by following curators and artists alike. You get to see pieces of their process and research through stories. It was even like seeing an old friend when Shantrelle posted that she was in Atlanta for the installation of the exhibition . But it will be even better when I will get to go to Auburn Avenue Research Library to hear her and Dr. Fahamu Pecou be in conversation about the work and the importance of connecting this narrative across the Disapora.
So here’s how we are going to do it, We’re going to build a calendar. Yes WE. Because we’re in this art thing together.
Set a date and time to do research.
Every Sunday from 8pm to 9pm, I’ll be looking for everything between show openings to events around the show.Try to stick to the time you set so you can focus to gather all of the information. I like to start on Instagram and saving flyers from the museum and gallery accounts to a saved collection. You can also use google, eventbrite and facebook.
What are you looking for?
There so many things that happen around art like show openings and closings, artists talks, curator talks, events, workshops and even jazz nights. Break up your research to looking for a specific thing so that it doesn’t become overwhelming and you start suffering from serious FOMO. I like to start by going to the institutions, museums or galleries calendar and make note of all of their upcoming exhibitions. Here are a few to get you started.