The Digital Collage of Representations: 20 Curatorial Instagram Accounts to Follow
by Chenoa Baker
When learning about Black art and artists, Instagram can be a helpful tool. It’s a unique lookbook that pieces together images, words, hashtags, and tags, presenting a virtual gallery space in itself. An effective artwork on Instagram polarizes or mesmerizes the viewer—-if you debate, in your head, whether to heart it, then the artwork has done its job. This digital medium provides instant access to curators, enabling them to shape the art world, especially given increased online engagement during COVID. That said, here are some great curators to follow:
Alayo Akinkugbe created @blackhistoryofart to carry viewers on her educational journey through the fields of Black art history and African contemporary art. Noticing a lack of representation upon pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Akinkugbe pays homage to contemporary Black artists and legends. Recently, she collaborated with the @arthistorybabes to deepen the narrative about art history from an Afrocentric perspective. In effect, she said we are telling our own stories through art and visual culture. Her recent posts feature Frank Bowling and Amoako Boafo’s collaboration with Dior.
Juana Williams curates art that largely goes unnoticed. Figural imagery, and associated aspects of beauty and complexity, dominates her Instagram. She shares artworks from Elizabeth Catlett, Dawn Okoro, Brianna McCarthy, Jacqueline Suowari, and Helina Metefaria. Through Instagram, we dialogued about Mavis Pusey and Black abstract expressionists that are underrecognized. Indulging in her stories and posts will allow you to learn about the unsung heroes in art beyond the museum.
Kilolo Luckett’s Instagram combines her curation at the August Wilson Cultural Center (AWCC), exhibitions she attends, and her highlighting of Black artists. Her Instagram is both fun and informative, matching her personality. Through image and caption she shares info about Thaddeus Mosley, her upcoming AWCC Lit Fridays (one of which she hosts a studio visit for Dominic Chambers), Ayana Evans, Devan Shimoyama, Titus Kaphar, and Stephen Towns. Luckett is an art historian by training who shares the artwork, exhibitions, and scholarly literature on Black artists in a beautiful way.
Dr. Kelli Morgan
Dr. Morgan, the critical race theorist and cultural historian, shares videos that discuss Black art history and historiography. Her amicable yet no-nonsense personality flavors the artwork, articles, and quotes she shares. Dr. Morgan provides insight to “these museum streets” from her experience, which pieces together stories of Edmonia Lewis, quotes from her articles, and artists that inspired her.
Dr. Naima Keith
Dr. Keith documents Black art as it evolves. She approaches her Instagram with the same fervor as her curation by showing artists like Cyrus Kabiru, Rashid Johnson, John Key, Gary Simmons, Zanele Muholi, and Donald Rodney. She is up on newly created artwork. Follow Dr. Keith’s Instagram for her unique eye and understanding of what is happening in Black art today.
Drew is a ‘Jacqueline of all trades’ and a people-centered curator. She chronicles the art world through her Insta, what is happening in the fashion world, and her pride in being herself authentically. If you want to see a dope pairing of bucket hats and glorious accessories, as well as some amazing art events and exhibitions, this is the Instagram account you should follow.
Dennis’ Instagram chronicles Black artwork and the innovation of the curatorial field. The Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) grad draws us in with the intimate way she shares on Instagram. The artists she showcases are Jamal Cyrus, Emma Amos, Robert Pruitt, and Nari Ward. Her success, along with the compelling artwork she shares, proves that Dennis is a luminary.
Dr. Finley’s Instagram showcases her teaching at the Atlanta University Center Art Collective by providing images of Zoom lectures with artwork, virtual artist talks, and HBCU exhibitions. Her Instagram is great to follow because it shows the critical scholarship and artwork from HBCUs, which foster great Black artists.
Selman curates her Instagram as a celebration of Black and Southern culture. She includes the artists Xaviera Simmons, Althea Murphy Price, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Christi Belcourt, Eamon Ore-Giron, and Henry Taylor. Through her Instagramming she cultivates a lookbook that shows many different artists and their work, which is like visiting a virtual gallery during COVID.
Ortiz fosters cross-diasporic conversations through artwork on her Instagram. She shares legendary artists like Sam Gilliam and Alma Thomas, as well as contemporary artists that reclaim African religiosity and visual culture across the diaspora. Her Instagram is colorful, informative, and educational on a variety of unique artists.
The many images on this Instagram confront the viewer with photography, fashion, and historical images. This archive presents aesthetics to be interacted with–digital art and cultural signifiers–for the viewer’s enjoyment.
Brown shares high quality images of Black artists because of his role as Black Art Scout for Hansford and Sons. Therefore, his Instagram is up on current artwork accepted by the art market. This is valuable to know what’s selling. Among the artists on his Instagram are Chukes, Basquiat, Stanley Whitney, Faith Ringgold, and Bisa Butler.
Moniz’s Instagram has strengths in Modern Black Art and African Art. On her page, viewers enjoy the artwork of Aaron Douglass, Yoruba culture, William H. Johnson, Emory Douglass, and Deana Lawson. Her Instagram walks the viewer through Afrocentric visual culture.
Lax chronicles Black media through his Instagram. He shows Queen and Slim imagery referencing the importance of documenting Blackness when circumstances are uncertain. Some of the artists he features are Emanoel Araujo, Mário Cravo, Hector Hyppolite, Bhupen Khakhar, Senga Nengudi, and Maren Hassinger. If you are searching for food for thought captions and great images, this Instagram is a great one to check out.
Golden is one of the Godmothers of Black art curation. Her claim to fame with Black Male and her work at The Studio Museum makes her a superb curator to follow on Instagram. Her account shows her connections, highlighting Black art history legends, attendance of events, artist residents at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and referencing critical scholarship in the field.
Dr. Griffin has an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed. She picks a euphonious color palette that showcases artwork about Black womanhood and figural representations, as well as abstract art. She includes such artists as Adam Pendleton, Simone Leigh, Mark Bradford, Victor Chukwurah-Ubah, Lex Brown, Debra Cartwright, Ian Micheal, and Fabiola Jean-Louis. Dr. Griffin’s Instagram deepens the conversation of the common themes that unify the African Diaspora.
The Black Artchive is an account curated by Robyn Rock that focuses on the creativity and representation of Black female-identifying artists. She notably includes works from Carla Jay Harris, Elizabeth Catlett, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, Lebohang Kganye, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Lorna Simpson, Mickalane Thomas, and Amy Sherald. This Instagram is devoted to the beauty of Black womxn by looking at the nuances in the skin tone as painted by artists, hair adornment, the treatment of the body, and the gaze that the portraits hold.
Ossei-Mensah’s Instagram chronicles his work with various artists, art initiatives, and homemade breadmaking. From it, you can learn about art community meetings through Zoom called The Parlor, ArtNoir auctions, and artwork from such artists as Shinique Smith, Peter Williams, Conrad Egyir, Kim Dacres, and Tiffany Alfonseca. Mensah creates community around Black artwork in his work and his Instagram.
Hockley arranges her Instagram to show artwork, images that represent her co-curating the Whitney Biennial in 2019, and her tributes to motherhood. The wonderful thing about following curators on Instagram is their keen eye for beauty. In the artwork of Hank Willis Thomas, Kerry James Marshall, Amy Sherald, Shikeith, Sade Barnette, and Norman Rockwell, and with images of protests, family, and her experiences, Hockley tells a comprehensive narrative.
Sutton curates objects on her Instagram that are intriguing juxtapositions as her feed collages objects from Gabon; Black Lives Matter street art in Hollywood; artwork from Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Charles White, Stan Squirewell, Titus Kaphar; and hot pink heels pushing the walk button at the crosswalk. This curator’s bold, eclectic, and fresh perspective showcases artwork in a unique way.
These curators advance digital narratives that affirm Black art. They share the mundane parts of life that are beautiful along with masterworks by world-famous artists. During the fluctuations of the COVID pandemic, Instagram helps to connect us with artworks unavailable in the gallery space and find virtual shows. We hope you enjoy these Instagram accounts and follow our Instagram at Black Art in America.
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Chenoa Baker is an emerging curator and arts journalist. She provides curating, advertising, employing Google data analytics in her blog content, and research services. Her educational background in Cultural Studies, Art History, and Museum Studies from Chatham University provides a broad base from which to approach collection stewardship and visual critical studies from a critical race methodology. Her writing skills may be confirmed on Sugarcane Magazine, Pulse@ChathamU, and other publications. She especially enjoys exploring the intersection of art, race, and psychology in her work. You may learn more about her services on LinkedIn, Instagram, or by contacting her at email@example.com.
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