The Accounts That Are Redefining How We Use Instagram
Ben Davis observed recently that Instagram, a four-year-old app, is “dominating the conversation as no purely art-related topic is.” Via Google Trends, he compared the terms “art” and “Instagram” and revealed that the latter eclipsed art significantly.
Davis contends that art and art history, specifically John Berger’s seminal text Ways of Seeing, may help deepen the understanding of our photo-sharing obsession in the same way that Berger sought to demystify the power of painting. He asserts further that Berger essentially predicted that a mass-media platform like Instagram would one day replace museums.
This Saturday, artists and guests discussed images from their own Instagram feeds, as well as those of others. Inspired by Hans Obrist Ulrich’s utility of this contemporary medium through his project The Art of Handwriting, the Mini-Marathon aimed to explore the (lack of) rules and the flattening of creativity through visually driven social-media outlets such as Instagram.
Participating artists included:
Boychild’s (@boychild) work in video and live performance explores questions about the state of humans in the modern world through the body’s display and transformation. Her Instagram catalogues still images from various projects.
Simon Castets (@simoncastets) is the director of the Swiss Institute in New York and cofounder of 89plus, a multi-platform project involving artists and thinkers born after 1989. Castets is interested in the effect of an increasingly ubiquitous Internet on creativity in contemporary society.
Artist, curator, and writer Meg Cranston is the Department Chair of Fine Arts at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Through various media, she questions the ways in which art affects both individuals and larger society.
Michel Gaubert (@michelgaubert) is a Parisian deejay who has worked with Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix, and many others. His Instagram transforms the simple and strange into the beautiful, frequently using the hashtag #itscouturebaby.
Artist Alex Israel (@alexisrael) derives his material from his native city of Los Angeles. In his web series As It Lays, he conducts interviews with recognizable entertainment-industry figures in front of a trademark pastel background, engaging in portraiture in the modern sense.
Niko Karamyan (@nikotheikon) explores the social imagery of the past through a contemporary lens. His investigation of style and personality reflects the issues he thinks define his generation, such as the unavoidable exposure to ever-evolving technology.
Rachel Lord (@rlord_raw) is a Los Angeles-based artist, actor, and poet whose recent work explores the boundaries of thematic and structural appropriation in painting. Her Instagram records personal encounters and curious self-portraits.
Kevin McGarry (@kevinmcgarry) is a writer and curator based in Los Angeles and New York. He writes about art, film, and culture, and has organized numerous film festivals. On Instagram he documents urban sights and sounds that may go unnoticed.
Often referred to as “the Artist of the Internet,” Ryder Ripps (@ryder_ripps) is a conceptual artist and creative director working online in New York. His Instagram features his projects and interesting daily finds.
Frances Stark (@therealstarkiller) is an artist and writer based in Los Angeles. Her recent works use various digital media to explore the function and significance of various modes of communication and engage with social values, art, and entertainment.
Photo: Bettina Korek