Kimberly Drew is good at the Internet. Not only does the 26-year-old New Jersey native hold a day job as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s social media manager, her Tumblr, Black Contemporary Art, has 200,000 followers and has propelled her into an authoritative position within the art world. It was never authority, however, that drove Drew to create the platform in 2011; it was urgency. After an internship at the Studio Museum in Harlem under director Thelma Golden and a trip to the Brooklyn Museum, she realized the importance of representation and was instilled with the idea of creating a space to see, view, and share black art—in a sense, to curate a digital museum.
“I saw Kehinde Wiley’s paintings [at the Brooklyn Museum], and it was one of the most emotional experiences that I’ve ever had viewing a work of art,” Drew recalls. “Kehinde’s work is a look into the canon of our history and is trying to understand how blackness can exist there too. I realized how important it is to see images of yourself in these spaces, and it drove me to feel how vital, how urgent, this work is. I want to do whatever I can to provide people with images of themselves.”
And she has. Beyond her Tumblr, Drew’s Instagram account, @museummammy, has over 113,000 followers; she has contributed to Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Rookie magazine, and the Walker Art Center’s Superscript; and regularly gives talks on diversity, art, and the digital world at prominent spaces such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Basel Miami Beach, and the New Museum. Last summer she hosted a month-long “social sculpture,” the Black Art Incubator, on the Lower East Side, and this year, she’s aiming to finish an art book she’s working on with New York Times journalist Jenna Wortham, entitled Black Futures.
As if that weren’t enough, Drew is constantly in contemplation about her own future. “I think a lot about what the word ‘curator’ actually means,” says Drew. “It’s rooted in this idea of care and of shepherding a history and a story, so I’ve become more apt to describe myself as a curator. I think so much about my role in the world as a person who loves art, creativity, and history, and who also loves to share information. I’m always trying to understand how to better live up to [curator’s] true meaning as someone who cares for both myself and for my community.”