Kimberly Drew’s curation brings black artists to the forefront

Online community producer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kimberly Drew. (Instagram/@MuseumMammy)

In a new interview with Lenny, 25-year-old Kimberly Drew shares her experience as an art educator for a new web generation. As the online community producer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Drew manages the digital social media portals that allow virtual access to the museum and also conducts conversations with artists about technology, race and their intersection in the art world. “[The Met’s] community is not geo-specific. It’s built around language that’s inclusive, it’s built around images that are intriguing. I’d like to think that our social-media goals are to invite people into the museum in any capacity they can access it,” Drew told Lenny editor-in-chief Doreen St. Felix.

Kimberly Drew’s career started – where else? – on Tumblr, where she curated the Black Contemporary Art Tumblr while working as an intern at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The idea for the blog first came as a means to record the history of the art that she was being exposed to. “There’s all this art history that I missed, there’s all this art history that has been erased, there’s all this art history that has been inaccessible, and that complicated my relationship to art and really got me to ask the right questions of my peers,” Drew said. She’s also used her Instagram, @MuseumMammy, to draw some 82,000 followers to the art that moves her and encourage them to “do research on the things I find valuable.”

“Blackness is a technology in and of itself. The way we survive and thrive has always been contingent on building technologies against the system that sets us up to fail,” Drew — who called art the “wallpaper of her life” — told St. Felix. Contemporary black artists working to change the white-washed narrative of technology that inspire her include Nontsikelelo Mutiti, a Zimbabwe-born graphic artist whose recent project centered on African hair-braiding salons. “She’s looking at the graphic design within them, thinking about those little cards that you get that are amazingly designed, and trying to unpack how we can actually think about that as an identity,” she explained.

The pair discussed the failures of language on the Internet — “Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone in the universe to have Internet, but the Internet’s not for them,” Drew said — as well as the influence African American Studies courses had on her understanding of history. “I’m interested in trying to share things that are urgent, uplifting, that are not false either,” Drew said.

Read the full story at Lenny Letter.

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