Hashtags for fine art at the newly minted Low Museum 

Georgia State seniors live and exhibit in the space

HASHTAG RAINBOW: A scene from the #moreofthesame exhibition


HASHTAG RAINBOW: A scene from the #moreofthesame exhibition

In July, Georgia State seniors Jordan Stubbs, Pastiche Lumumba, and Lauren McLee opened the Low Museum, a gallery and co-op space for contemporary art, lecture series, drunken critiques, workshops, talks, and a couch just for sitting. They also live upstairs. Right now, there are several hanging paintings and two sweaters covered in rows of anti-theft retail tags for Lumumba's recent solo exhibition, A Retrospective. The Low's opening marks the trio's first advancements toward unifying contemporary artists and challenging perceptions of art. "What I want to focus on is expanding our role beyond that of just representations of culture through art, and seek to create ways that we can engage culture itself beyond mere art alone," said McLee.

Starting a museum may seem overly ambitious for the generation too lazy to start more than a Tumblr page. However, the founders possess a quiet certainty in their mission and message to support the underrepresented artists of progressive thought and innovative skill. The museum was partially born thanks to the idea of using hashtags in lieu of themes and artists' statements, manipulating the context in which exhibitions are perceived. "Someone takes a picture, they hashtag it with whatever words they want to, and it becomes a more well-rounded image of that individual," says Stubbs. "It's captions, but captions that can connect a wide variety of ideas together as themes."

Their shows play out as riddles based in free-association, linking the seemingly unrelated to create a bigger theme. Their first exhibition, PORN, was a collection of fragmented pornographic and commonplace media, like a mounted mattress corner, a piece by Lumumba called "HerFirstSexToy." In August there was #Selfies, a multimedia show of reimagined classic art pieces turned into contemporary representation, including "The Last Supper" as seen through Instagram culture. As the conversation continues, the group discusses similar potential show ideas that link universal imagery to larger themes like a #MileyCyrus show that makes commentary on cultural appropriation, cocaine use, white privilege, etc.

"I hope by next year artists' statements are done and people are just their work," says Lumumba. "When you look at something, you see it in elements. I see it as a combination of things that can be found in other things. These elements bridge their own gaps between the physical item or function and what that item symbolizes. Hashtags create context."

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