Following the success of their 2015 exhibition showcasing art popularised solely by Instagram, Unit London have teamed up with online art platform Avant Arte to stage a new exhibition of art works which have found success through the social media platform.
It was street artist Banksy who once claimed: “The Art we look at is made by only a select few. A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit and decide the success of Art. Only a few hundred people in the world have any real say. When you go to an Art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires”.
This innovative exhibition demonstrates that it is no longer a select few who decide the success of art however, since the pieces on display have effectively been chosen by the people who have discovered them on social media. Instagram acts as a bridge between the art world and millennials, allowing young people to actively engage with art, discovering and then following their favourite artists and works.
Yet does this encourage a ‘like’ and move on culture, whereby pieces of art which are immediately visually attractive garner the most attention and impressions, whilst not necessarily repaying a repeat viewing? Similar to an Instagram feed, the pieces are instantly visually accessible, feeding their message to the viewer quick enough to catch someone’s attention as they scroll through their Instagram feed.
Despite this, if Instagram is bridging the gap between people who felt otherwise isolated from the world of art, then this is surely a positive impact. Further still, Matt Carey of Phillips auction house has reported of a huge increase in the amount of collectors who have approached him after seeing pieces he has uploaded to Instagram.
This is therefore evidence that Instagram has managed to have an impact on the art world beyond a mere ‘like’ of a photo, with the platform actually encouraging sales. This is evidenced further by art insurers Hiscox who have predicted that we will see more purchases of art online than through galleries, auction houses and art fairs. Whether this is an effect of social media platforms such as Instagram or merely a matter of convenience in the twenty first century is yet to be revealed.
Written by Camron intern Rhiannon Johns.