This piece was inspired by an episode of The Cooler, KQED's weekly pop culture podcast. Give it a listen!
Solange Knowles is known for many things: sharing genetics with Beyoncé, being a great musician in her own right (start here), starring in a Bring It On sequel with Hayden Panettiere that I have yet to see but probably should, throwing the most aesthetically mind-blowing wedding ever, exacting Mortal Kombat-style revenge on her sister's trifling husband, etc.
Something else that should be added to this list of achievements: having her Snapchat content displayed on the walls of a museum. Under the account name nappyandsnappy, Solange elevates a social media platform known for being a black hole of flower crown selfies into an ephemeral modern art gallery, subverting the notion that social media is inherently frivolous or meaningless.
Findings from a National Endowment for the Arts study reveal a marked decline in museum attendance among people between the ages of 18 and 34. Another study found that Millennials prefer Instagram and Pinterest to museums and galleries for discovering art. And The New York Times says there is concern in the art world that young people aren't into experiencing art in a traditional way:
Curators worry most about millennials. How do static galleries of canvas and artifact engage a generation raised on the reactive pleasures of right swipes and hyperlinks? How do you sell Goya when “Game of Thrones” is a click away?
The "kids just don't care about art these days" refrain is a myth. Millennials love meaningful expression just like all the generations that came before; we're just a little more open to redefining what we consider art, where that art exists and who we accept as an artist.