R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport happy to help Rembrandt blow up Twittersphere

Jan 21, 2016

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport has curated an exhibit that spins a modern age social media artistic tale using about 30 pieces from its collection. The exhibit “#HashtaggingHistory” is where the Twittersphere and Rembrandt collide, according to the Norton’s creative and visual arts director Emily Feazel.

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery's creative and visual arts director Emily Feazel stands next to the introductory wall display of the Norton's new exhibit, "#HashtaggingHistory."
Credit KATE ARCHER KENT

Feazel wove social media themes – like Twitter, Instagram and the proliferation of selfies – into ideas depicted in some of the Norton’s vast fine art collection. Feazel used six prominent hashtags from social media in the exhibition – like Woman Crush Wednesdays or #WCW (think the Duchess of Marlborough).

“It’s just like these people would have had Instagram whenever they were alive. You have Mary Antoinette on her Instagram page talking about her outfit of the day and sitting for her portrait,” Feazel said. “You have Pocahontas talking about what she’s wearing for the fall season. It’s been really fun.”

This exhibition marks a turning point for the museum in its 50th year to curate its own exhibitions delving deep into an archive that contains thousands of works. Feazel says the Norton will no longer bring in traveling shows.

Feazel says “#HashtaggingHistory” will be viewed by about 3,000 students over the next four months, and the goal is to connect with a new generation of museumgoers.

“Most of the time in the exhibits it’s just the pieces are on the wall and there’s no connection. While they’re beautiful, there wasn’t a deeper level to it,” Feazel said. “We’re using this to do something really fun and out-of-the-box for us that’s different from the permanent collection.”

“#HashtaggingHistory” features works never before displayed. The exhibit runs through mid-May. Feazel says the exhibit that will take its place this summer will be Salvador Dali’s “Alice in Wonderland” illustrations, and museumgoers can expect to go down a rabbit hole as the Norton works to deliver a new experience with its collection.

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