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The Age of Instagram Art

By Gabrielle Mizrahi

While checking Instagram this past year, the typical brunch shots and pictures of sunsets were interspersed with something else. Suddenly, images of faces surrounded by translucent, plastic spheres or a perfectly white room littered with multicolored stickers were ubiquitous on the social media platform.  However, it was not only your most “artsy” friends who were posting from these exhibitions at the National Building Museum or the David Zwirner Gallery.  Rather, the masses were flocking to these unique shows, which allowed them to take that enviable Instagram shot. 

Instagram has become a powerful tool that affects art in a multitude of ways. Currently, a debate rages as to whether Instagram is benefiting creativity, or adversely affecting the artistic process.  

Proponents of the app argue that Instagram makes art more accessible.  Rather than having to read obscure art blogs or esoteric reviews of a new exhibition, people can follow their local galleries and museums on Instagram to see visually appealing images and short, clear captions that may incite them to visit. Similarly, if a friend posts a picture of a work of art, it may inspire curiosity for the follower to view the piece themselves.  This leads to increased audiences, which may eventually lead to more support for the arts overall.

However, others feel that Instagram may in fact affect the artistic process. They believe that what will inspire posts on the site will influence decisions when exhibits are conceived and which works galleries choose to showcase, fund, and support.  This can potentially lead to funding of art that will photograph particularly well (such as the Carsten Höller exhibition in London this year), while passing over works that may not be as marketable on the social media site. 

Today, what we see on Instagram may inspire the exhibitions we choose to patronize.  However, it is important to also “like” those works that may not be as appealing on our newsfeeds, but are appealing off the screen.

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