BTS’s RM Has His Fans Flocking to Museums

We all know that celebrities can have a profound influence on the tastes and interests of their fans. But lovers of the K-pop group BTS are taking things to another level. Though the group recently announced that they were taking a break, that hasn’t stopped their loyal fans, known as ARMY, from following their every move. For many, this means watching as the group’s leader RM shares his love of art. This has caused an uptick in visits to museums and galleries that he frequently posts on his Instagram account.

The Korean rapper boasts 35.9 million followers on his account, where he often posts about his passion for art. In fact, he is known to pop into different museums and galleries unannounced and share his visits through the type of photos that any museum-goer would take. The only difference is that his posts spark a flood of ARMY visitors to the same places, as his loyal fans participate in what’s known as “Namjooning.” Based on RM’s legal name, it’s a term for fans who post photos of themselves participating in the same activities as RM.

For instance, when RM visited Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art in December 2021, he posted a photo of himself sitting on a bench outside the museum. That bench has now become a landmark for fans, who flock to the museum and take their own photos to replicate RM’s action. And a tweet that the museum posted about his visit has become one of the account’s most popular, with 39,000 likes. His visit even gained them an incredible number of followers. Though he didn’t tag the museum, the National Gallery got nearly three times the amount of followers it would get on an average day in the 24 hours after his post.

“We were heartened to see how many people shared that they were now inspired to visit,” said Anabeth Guthrie, the National Gallery’s communications chief.

RM’s passion for art began several years ago and in 2018, he began visiting museums regularly. “As an art enthusiast and a collector who loves art, I read and study a lot hoping to grow special insights and better discerning eyes…,” he told ARTnews.  “I’m not good at multitasking, but I’m a person who digs deep once I get interested. Right now, I’m into art.”

In South Korea, RM is already well-known for his ability to drive attention toward the arts. Earlier this year, an exhibition at the Seoul Museum of Art broke attendance records after the musician lent a sculpture to the show. Now, he’s bringing that influence to the United States. The Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Skarstedt Gallery are just some of the cultural institutions that gained new visitors thanks to posts by RM.

Staff members interviewed by ARTnews all mentioned seeing ARMY members clustered in places where RM had photographed himself. And they also spoke with many fans who said that they were encouraged to visit thanks to RM. One, Virgie Felix, had stopped by The Broad and The Getty while in Los Angeles thanks to RM’s influence. “We were able to see and experience art that we may not have thought about going to see.”

For RM, sharing his love of art on Instagram is only the beginning. He’s also spoken about starting his own public art space in the future. If and when he makes this dream a reality, ARMY will certainly be ready and waiting.

To learn even more about RM’s love of art, check out his interview on the Art Basel podcastIntersections.

K-pop star RM from the group BTS is known for his love of visual art.

Since 2021, he’s been posting images of himself visiting museums on Instagram.

Now his fans, known as ARMY, are getting inspired to visit more museums.

In a phenomenon known as “Namjooning,” fans photograph themselves participating in RM’s favorite activities.

h/t: [ARTnews]

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