Laurence de Valmy explores Art History and Social Media

Laurence de Valmy is an artist known for her exploration of art history through the use of social media imagery. Re-imagining how some of the greatest artists from the past would interact today. She uses the frame of an instagram post to tell that story. It is as if social media was around at the time the art was created.

Working with Summit Public Art in New Jersey, de Valmy has installed three artworks in the city of Summit itself. Each features the work of artists from the wider region. Artists such as from Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and Lee Krasner. These are shown as if the artists themselves had just posted online.

Laurence de Valmy stands next to her artworks at Mondo in Summit, New Jersey
Laurence de Valmy by two of her installations in Summit, New Jersey

Art History

The installation, called ‘Connected’ is a part of a wider series by Laurence de Valmy called ‘Post’. Altogether it is an attempt to bring art history more into the mainstream of today’s instant world. “I love art history but above all I’m fascinated by personal stories and relationships” she explains. “How artists were connected with other artists, art dealers, writers, their lovers etc”. In researching the art she wanted to depict she asks questions such as what made them create it and why. Often re-imagining the response it allows for a better understanding of the people behind the artworks.

Mondo in Summit, New Jersey with an artwork from Laurence de Valmy
The Mondo building in Summit where the work is installed

Pioneers of Art

Created during the pandemic. De Valmy’s choice of Krasner, Haring and Basquiat was designed to represent ideas of resilience, hope and inclusion. Each of the artists showcased are now seen as pioneers in their fields. Yet perhaps were not fully appreciated in their lifetime. “Aesthetically appealing but also educational and fun at the same time” is how Brian Carpenter the Communications Chair for Summit Public Art describes it. “We hope that it will trigger people’s curiosity and allow them to experience art in a unique way”.

Choosing instagram as a medium to tell those stories, de Valmy recognises the potential dangers that could result from overuse. But her own experience has been a positive one. Describing it as a “game changer”. She’s been able to use it to connect with friends as well as potential customers who have spotted her work on the platform. The installation as part of the Summit Public Art programme takes us back to a ‘what if’ kind of thought. Just how would Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat and Lee Krasner have used social media? How would it have impacted their art? Indeed would they have even bothered?

Connected by Laurence de Valmy

Sun Woman by Lee Krasner

“Krasner as a woman had to make her way in a male-dominated art scene and break free from the shadow of her famous husband, Jackson Pollock”

Laurence de Valmy

Tree of Life by Keith Haring

“Keith Haring was snubbed by the art institutions, at least for a while, since he was labeled as a commercial artist and he was also a victim of AIDS. Despite these challenges, he was his whole life a strong advocate for art democratization, equality, tolerance, and love of life, which is very inspiring to me”

Laurence de Valmy

Basquiat paints like a Child by Jean Michel Basquiat

Although Jean Michel Basquiat quickly rose to fame, he resented the racism he often faced along the way..

Laurence de Valmy

Installed in partnership with Summit Public Art all the pieces have been created during the pandemic. A volunteer led organisation, they’ve been installing public art in the area since 2002. Installed in May 2021 they can be found at the Mondo building, 426 Springfield Ave, Summit, NJ 07901. All images in this post are courtesy of Laurence de Valmy.

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