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So, you wanna be an art nerd?

by Catherine LaRivière

Well, perhaps you’re currently finding yourself in the situation that you want to look like you know things about art when you go to museums, and in this case our girl Kennedy has got your back.

But maybe you’re grappling with a deep-set existential crisis that has been bubbling beneath the surface for what seems like an eternity, wherein you desperately want to seem cool and artsy and hip and down with the cool kids but you don’t even KNOW where to start. After all, there’s so much art, and so precious little time! Reading a 1000+ page encyclopedia of the Western artistic tradition is pedantic and time consuming, but how are you supposed to be fun at fancy parties if you don’t know about Wassily Kandinsky’s artistic process or how Lynda Benglis shook up the art world or how Kara Walker uses the bold style of pop art to subvert established narratives about African-American identity?

Step 1. Open said 1000+ page art encyclopedia. Step 2. Holy shit that’s a lot of pages. Step 3. Try to learn through osmosis?

Well, dear friends of the FDG, look no further. Here is a compilation of resources to get you started on your journey in getting to know art a little better and maybe seeming a little cooler at your next fancy party.

Let’s start simple: Instagram. It’s an easy platform for art to be disseminated on: art is visual content, pictures on Instagram are visual content. To-may-to, to-mah-to, y’know? Except in this case one tomato grew, and then the seeds from that tomato grew the other tomato.  (Side note: are agriculture metaphors a thing? I don’t know about you guys, but they’re starting to grow on me. *insert drum emoji here, but also my shame for that terrible pun.*)

Maybe you want some more masterpieces in your feed! Accounts like Today is Art Day, Discovering Art History, and Art History Feed keep it simple with daily pictures of great works of art history.

Maybe you want a different take on these classics, be it funny or cool. For that, accounts like The Cool Art Historian, Copy Lab, Dan Cretu, and Art History Caps, and even everyone’s favourite Classical Art Memes have your back.

Maybe you’re thinking more local and want some preview for content you can go and see on your weekends. For murals, I like to keep up with Wall2Wall Montreal, MU Montreal, and MURAL Festival. MU’s website also has a nifty tool to help you find their murals around Montreal. Happy mural hunting, friends! For actual art institutions, I like to keep up with my love The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, but also The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, The Phi Centre, DHC/ART, The Montreal Biennial, and Artgang Montreal.

Maybe you’ve got a kind of museum wanderlust, and you want to keep tabs with some of the world’s best known collections. Girls in Museums is a good place to start (you can even enter your own photos!), and I personally keep up with The Guggenheim, The Tate, MoMA, Le Centre Pompidou, The Met, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Prado, The New Museum, The Whitney Museum, The National Gallery of Canada and holy crap SO MANY MORE. Keeping up with Sotheby’s and Artnet is also great if you want to get an idea of what the art market is currently like.

Maybe contemporary art is more your thing and you want to see what the art world is making and what’s breaking boundaries. For this, art fairs and more popular commercial galleries have your back, like Frieze Art Fair, The Art Prize, The Gagosian Gallery, The Saatchi Gallery, and Art Basel. Not to be ignored are accounts like art.aesthetics and Visual Fodder that post pictures of artworks from up and coming contemporary artists, and also link to the artists’ personal accounts if you like their style and want to follow them.

Maybe you want more critical perspectives on art and its inevitable socio-political ties, and for this Instagram works as a path to richer content. (Follow the #nofilter road!) Art in Ad Places is a good start, as it’s an ongoing project to replace the crappy ads seen in phone booths and bus stations with contemporary art that confronts some of the most important issues of our time. Juxtapoz, Hyperallergic, Art Forum, ArtNews, and The New Yorker are all magazines that deal with important issues pertaining to the arts. (Honorable mention here to New Yorkers Cartoons for keeping it real and making me laugh too.)

Maybe you want to get to know some important figures in art a little better. You can’t go wrong with folks like The Guerrilla Girls, Klaus Biesenbach, Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono, Jerry Saltz, WRDSMTH, and Cindy Sherman (not actually Cindy Sherman herself but it logs most of her untitled works.)

Maybe you want to learn more about the basics of art history. I’ve already mentioned The Art Assignment in a previous post, but I’ll reiterate it here, especially their “The Case For” seriesArtsy is an absolute dream of a platform for people with any degree of art historical knowledge, and I get lost in their articles on the regular. (Did you know Robert Rauschenberg has a Grammy? Well he does!)

And maybe after all of this art content has been infused into your various feeds, you find yourself at the end of the road wondering what could come next. In this case, kick up your feet and enjoy the brilliant satire that is Arty Bollocks. Get ready to join the spicy discourse of art history, my friends.

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