By Alex Lashley
For Unwind magazine
The summer of 2015 saw a burst in appreciation for the arts by an unexpected group — the millennials.
Interestingly enough, a generation critiqued for its lack of depth is the same group flocking to museums, such as Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the David Zwirner Gallery and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to view creative projects by various artists including Yoko Ono and Yayoi Kusama.
The rise of young art enthusiasts prompts a certain curiosity. What is it about current modern art that has so many young people captivated? Alexa Deplas, an art major and sophomore at Boston College, affirms that Instagram has definitely seen a recent influx of gallery uploads.
The 19 year old’s interest in art museums is fueled by her desire for inspiration and personal appetite for culture. She feels the apparent trend stems from a similar mindset.
“I think there’s definitely something cool about being cultured and that’s what people are trying to achieve as of now, so museum visits are definitely on the rise,” Deplas said.
Among the most popular of recent exhibits is Yayoi Kusama’s “Give Me Love,” housed at the David Zwirner Gallery. The exhibit features an installation called “The Obliteration Room,” where visitors are given a sheet of colorful stickers upon entry and invited to decorate the originally all-white room in colorful polka dots. Taylor Lashley, a sophomore at the George Washington University, credited the success of Kusama’s exhibit to its unique, collaborative nature.
“I liked it because it was the first exhibit that I had ever gone to where I was able to contribute to it,” Lashley said.
Interactive art pieces like Kusama’s are certainly attractive to visitors, an aspect that draws huge crowds to “The Beach Exhibit” at The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Visitors are able to swim in an ocean of nearly one million plastic balls.
Rebecca Simon, a freshman at the University of St. Andrews, sees the apparent movement in culture, but as an individual who has an authentic interest in art, the recent overwhelming attendance is a nuisance. She sees a clear divide between those who museum-hop to follow a trend and those who, like herself, would normally visit a museum.
“I think the perfect marriage of those two would be a person who goes to be trendy or for the Instagram, but actually learns to appreciate the art that’s in front of them and decides to go back with the intention to appreciate it fully,” Simon said.
However, Lashley sees the recent popularity and appreciation for modern art differently.
“I think as you get older you become more aware of your culture and the things around you and I think a part of that is becoming more aware of art,” Lashley said. “It only seems like a trend because posting everything you do on social media is currently the trend.”