Art Seen

Meet The Social Media Mastermind Behind The Brooklyn Museum's #ArtMemeMondays

Classical art meets a modern audience, and the results are unbe-meme-able.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet (including but not limited to the time you’re spending right now), you may have stumbled across one of its most specific and oddly satisfying inventions: art memes.


While we're lucky enough to have a meme for every aesthetic and stage of existential angst, perhaps no one has honed the craft of art memeing better than Brooke Baldeschwiler, senior manager of digital communications, and her social media staff at the Brooklyn Museum

She's the mastermind behind #ArtMemeMondays, a weekly tradition that began December 7 on Art Meme Day. The week before, Baldeschwiler posted in the museum's internal social media group, just to see if anyone was interested. Because the Brooklyn Museum was one of the earliest museums to establish a social media presence and has always used it to connect with its community, the staff took her idea and ran with it.

 "… In a couple days, the group generated over a hundred memes," she told A Plus via email. "Some are nods to existing memes, some were just inside jokes that were only for us — all of them were hilarious." 

Brooke Baldeschwiler, senior manager of digital communications at the Brooklyn Museum. Brooke Baldeschwiler

Then, Baldeschwiler set herself to the near-impossible task of narrowing down all those hilarious ideas to one.

After the museum shared its final choice for Art Meme Day — a doge-inspired impressionist painting — Baldeschwiler said, "It kind of blew up on Tumblr, and we knew we had something."

Brooke Baldeschwiler

Good thing, too, considering how many more great art memes the social media team had stocked up. "This is just a product and reflection of our brilliant and enthusiastic staff … It would have been a pity not to share," Baldeschwiler explained. "I had no choice but to turn it into an ongoing series." 

Now, every week, #ArtMemeMonday graces the screens of the Brooklyn Museum's social media followers. Not only do the internet posts make classical art forms entertaining for a modern audience, but they also make specific exhibitions accessible to a wider audience. "There are so many different ways to approach and access art, both in the galleries and online, and there is no right or wrong way to do it," Baldeschwiler said. "Some people come for a purely academic experience, some for a creative one, some social — and, of course, some want a little of everything." 

While she's sure the art memes may resonate with a "specific audience" more than others, she does believe "they’re helping to connect our collections to an audience who otherwise don’t know of or follow what we do."

Overall, the audience response to the Brooklyn Museum's unveiling of its meme collection has been "overwhelmingly positive," while still allowing it "to stay a little under the radar," according to Baldeschwiler. Of course, as with anything that lives on the internet, there are a few "haters," but she just shrugs them off. Instead, the social media team focuses on encouraging their Tumblr fans to browse the museum's digital collections and, if the creative juices just happen to be flowing, make their own memes. 

Baldeshwiler doesn't know if any visits have been sparked solely by #ArtMemeMonday, but she has noticed the museum "abuzz" this year. While she largely attributes that to the museum's exhibition and programming, she said, "If just one meme inspired one visit, I'd be thrilled." 

Those interested in visiting in the Brooklyn Museum can do so Wednesdays through Sundays 11 am to 6 pm. 

And for those outside the New York area, check out even more art memes below:


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