By DeeDee Hughes, Staff Writer
Beyoncé and Jay Z have been taking selfies, and they’re single-handedly exposing the art world to an entirely new demographic. In one of the photos, the power couple stands tough-faced in front of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In another, Beyoncé poses next to Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of Francoise, his famous lover and muse. There are many more photos, all documenting the Carter family’s venture into the European art world; all have gone viral on Twitter and Instagram.
Since the emergence of these photos, artworks and museums that never seem to be in the pop culture sphere have been thrust into it. There’s a new wave of Beyoncé fans talking about the Frieze London and the David Zwirner gallery. Why? Simply Because Beyoncé took a picture with them. The question that remains is whether this is good or bad.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Beyoncé is great. I mean, who doesn’t love Beyoncé? However, her incredibly strong influence on society says a lot about the current culture of the United States. We’ve created a world that puts celebrities ahead of almost everything else. People now need celebrities to spark intelligent exchanges about art, culture, and history, which has become more and more common as time has gone on and Hollywood glamour has become more idealized.
People should not need celebrities to love art in order to appreciate it themselves. A celebrity visiting a museum does not make the art within it any more relevant; the Mona Lisa is no more significant now that Beyoncé and Jay Z have stood in front of it. It is a bit sad when the public starts to adopt the interests of celebrities simply because they are celebrities.
That being said, the intersection of the fine art and celebrity worlds is not always a bad thing. With these selfies Beyoncé has drawn attention to a lot of beautiful art and created a conversation about it, which would not have been started otherwise. Thanks to Beyoncé, there are more people becoming aware of different artworks, museums and galleries. Perhaps it leads to a wider-spread interest, and that can only be a good thing. Carry on, Beyoncé.