When 1stfans launched with the Swoon printing event on January 3rd, it was a pretty crazy night. Though Shelley and I didn’t get to meet every 1stfan who attended, we were able to meet a few. One of the people we met was a guy named Matt Held. He said he was a painter and had this project on Facebook. He and his wife live in Brooklyn, he said, and had been regular Museum Members for a couple years. He joined 1stfans because he thought it was a cool idea, and he talked a little about his project, in which he paints people’s Facebook profiles as portraits. He got his print (you can see Matt and his wife Joelle in the photo above) and was on his way. Shelley thought it would be cool if we could get him to speak at a 1stfans meetup, and I agreed. We approached Matt, and he liked the idea too. Like our last 1stfans presenter Lisa Bruno, Matt was a good fit to speak because he’s a 1stfan Member and Museum supporter.
Fast forward a month or so, and Matt Held has become something of an internet phenomenon. His project, which he chronicles on a blog in addition to the facebook group, was picked up by several art and museum blogs (<— 5 links). Last week, Matt even made it into the “lowbrow-brilliant” quadrant of New York magazine’s weekly Approval Matrix and this week he’s profiled by Gillian Reagan in The New York Observer. When Shelley and I visited Matt at his studio last week, he seemed excited and a little overwhelmed by the attention he’s received as of late. Since we were used to seeing these paintings online, I was surprised at how spectacular they looked in person (granted, I’m no curator). It is for this reason that we are particularly excited to have Matt speak to 1stfans at Target First Saturday on March 7th.
At 7pm, Matt will be giving a talk exclusively to 1stfan Members about his project. He is going to bring a few of the portraits for 1stfans to see, and then afterwards he’s going to pick one far-away 1stfan’s Facebook profile to do as part of his project. If you’d like to hear Matt speak and you aren’t already a 1stfan Member, you can join right here.