Over the past decade the museum has taken steps to better engage younger audiences. By many measures the museum has succeeded: in recent months attendance at ARTafterDARK has been record breaking, and engagement on social media has increased significantly.
By the most recent count, people aged 18-33 now make up 18% of museum members. “Now is the perfect time to take our youth outreach to the next level,” said director Stephan Jost, “that’s why we’re excited to introduce Sam Gelfy as our new curator of millennial culture.”
While Gelfy’s qualifications are unorthodox for a traditional curatorial position, Jost insists that Gelfy’s experience and social media following makes him perfect for the position. “Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tinder, and Google plus, Gelfy has spent an average of 13 hours a day (per five-day work week) on social media over the past 3 years since his 18th birthday.” explained Jost, “this position demands a similar level of intensity. In addition he already has a following of over 3.2 million people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That massive following can only be a plus for us.”
Gelfy is ambitious to begin exhibiting millennial art before the end of the year. “I hope to encourage big name millennial artists like @lord_voldemort7, @everytweet_ever, and if I’m really lucky @cashcats to share their work with our community.” says Gelfy, “If I’m able to amass enough quality tweets, grams, and other millennial arts by August of this year, we’ll be able to go on view in one of the permanent galleries before the start of the holiday season.”
Gelfy understands that social media-based art is not the only thing millennials are craving. The museum’s youngest curator will also look at art in comic books, video games, street graffiti, and photography. “I still have an appreciation for traditional photography,” says Gelfy, “but for my purposes I will mainly be looking at selfies, as well as filtered pictures of food and cats.”
From November 14 the museum plans to devote the space between the two Modernism galleries for millennial art. In April of 2016 the museum will rotate out the art in Modernism II for permanent millennial art gallery.
“It’s bittersweet,” says curator of European and American art Theresa Papanikolas “on one hand it will be a shame to see masterworks by Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein go into the vaults, on the other hand it is exciting to see the museum engage the next generation of art lovers.”
Edit: April fools!