Eye Candy

The Birth of #EmptyMuseo in Rome

by Erica Firpo

Framing conversations. Photo by @pau_dove_sei.

Fathom contributing editor Erica Firpo has reported for us about the art scene around Europe, especially in her hometown, Rome. This time, she's the making the art with #EmptyMuseo, a new Instagram museum project she recently launched.

ROME – A few months ago, my husband Darius Arya (who also writes for Fathom) and I started to do the math:

Italy + cultural heritage + Instagram = an incredible conversation.

Only we wanted to make that conversation expand logarithmically. Inspired by #EmptyMet, the Dave Krugman project that gives Internet the chance to see New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art after hours, we joined forces with the Italian Ministry of Culture MiBACT and launched #EmptyMuseo.

Our idea was to create much-needed chatter about Italian cultural patrimony by bringing people into some great but less-visited Italian museums through, well, a hashtag.

My idea of fun is meandering the hallways and exhibition spaces of a museum. Since Instagram entered my life, I've armchair traveled the world, visiting museums, galleries, art fairs, and spaces through hashtags like #ArtWatchers (photos of people looking at art) and #EmptyMet. And whenever I am face to face with a great work of art, I share it on my my own IG gallery.

Museums blow my mind, as do modern and contemporary art, so it's no wonder that Rome's Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, aka GNAM was my choice to host #EmptyRome. It's made many guest appearances in my gallery for its amazing collection of modern and contemporary art, to say nothing for its architecture, which makes for an backdrop.

In December 2014, we held a test run, and in March 2015, we held an open call on Instagram to join a few Instagrammeriffic friends like @Aivenn, @MatteGo, @Helium_Tea, @HouroftheRose, and fellow Fathom contributor @ArleneAntoinetteGibbs — many of whom attended Fathom's first Instameet, which I organized in Rome last October — to explore GNAM visitor-free.

The response was amazing and helped us prove that just as art matters, so do Italian cultural institutions. So the plan is to host #EmptyMuseo every month with the gracious support of MiBACT. The next one will be in Rome on April 13, with Naples, Milan, and Florence in the upcoming months. Want to join us? We want to have you. For news on the next #EmptyMuseo events and how to participate, send an email to erica@ericafirpo.com.

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