I first met with art critic and all round art lover extraordinaire Jurgen Vermaire whilst working for Damien Hirst at Newport Street Gallery. I talk to him now about his hugely successful, and one of the biggest art accounts on Instagram ‘Let’s Talk About Art’ and a new one called ‘My Favourite Work of Art’ where he opens the discussion surrounding art further.
You run successful art based Instagram accounts ‘Let’s Talk About Art’ & ‘My Favourite Work of Art’. Tell us more about both of these accounts and what you’re sharing?
Four years ago, I started a company with my friend Sophie Pijnaker called Let’s Talk About Art. A company that aims to inspire and enthuse people about art. We organize interactive debates, readings and workshops concerning topics, themes and questions within the field of arts and culture.
Everybody has thoughts, ideas and questions about art. About the purpose of art, the art market, the art canon, about conservation, originality, art prizes and what the main task of a museum should be. Our goal is to share knowledge and expand views about art with each other.
I invite people there to share their stories and special memories about their favourite work of art, artist or museum. The process of sharing our intimate and personal relationship to art is often a confidential aspect of life that is rarely brought to the surface through critical debate, the artist is often praised and understood but how we as an audience ‘feel’ about works is often left unsaid. It is how we personally relate to the works and the challenges of that experience and sense of connection that often keeps us interested however. It is the basis to communicate about art, start a dialogue and a process of self-knowing.
Tell us about your favourite period of art and some of the artists you love?
During university, my focus was on researching Dutch Golden Age and Italian Renaissance artists. I focused with much pleasure on paintings with biblical and mythological iconography. Today I am more interested in contemporary painters, sculptors and installation artists, especially Wolfgang Laib, Rachel Whiteread, Kehinde Wiley, Matthew Day Jackson, Ugo Rondinone, Katharina Fritsch, Chris Ofili, Elizabeth Peyton, John Currin, Sarah Morris, Isa Genzken, Roxy Paine, Mark Wallinger, Bernard Frize, Daniel Richter, Katharina Grosse .... sorry, I could go on and on.
Through my social media platforms, dialogues and lectures people constantly ask me what my favorite work of art is, or favorite artist. Because my taste is so diverse I always find that question difficult to answer. The people who ask me usually have their answers and stories ready. Those stories are usually full of emotion, pride, hope and love for a particular work of art. Stories that are worth sharing.
What is the purpose of what you’re doing?
The reason why I began this journey five years ago is simply to spread knowledge, beauty and make people think about issues within the world of art and culture. Education is the cornerstone for every society or civilisation. It should be readily available for everyone, all genders, all ages. We live in a populist and superficial time. Most online platforms are filled with loud voices, negativity, lies, and big ego's. But I believe there is and always must be room for education on social media too. The idea of giving people joy, beauty and a little bit of extra knowledge about art every day is a privilege and I hope I can go on doing it for a very long time.
See Jurgen’s Instagram account @lets_talk_about_art