Social media is changing the way we connect with art. Once considered exclusive and elite, art is now opening up to the masses through blogs and picture sharing platforms. Where artists in the past had to get support from galleries, critics and collectors before anyone could view their work, today everything can be uploaded, viewed and reviewed directly by the public.
So lets talk about Instagram. Since launched in 2010 the picture-sharing social media platform has, with its 500 million users, become one of the most famous social media sites in the world. It is also much more than just selfies and cute kittens. Scroll past the images of your neighbour’s lunch and you’ll find a whole world out there of artists, curators, collectors, art dealers and other art lovers sharing their experiences and exchanging ideas about art. It’s basically a virtual gallery in your own pocket and an easy access to the global art scene. By seeking out interesting accounts to follow, you discover new artists and new works of art, but you also stay updated on current trends within the art market.
For many artists social media has become a way to promote their work. This challenges the traditional artist-gallery relationship, in which the galleries slowly develop an artist’s career. By using Instagram, as well as other picture based social media platforms such as Snapchat, to exhibit, distribute and tell stories about their work, artists are engaging directly with the masses, making social media an important platform for business. In fact, a 2015 survey made by Artsy found more than half of collectors had bought works by artists they had initially spotted on Instagram. We also know, that despite an overall slowdown in the global art market in 2015, the online market grew 24 percent.
Five Finnish artists to check out on Instagram:
jani.leinonen – Jani Leinonen, currently exhibiting at Aros Aarhus Art Museum has used social media for years to carry out his projects
elinabrotherus – Elina Brotherus is a noted Finnish photographer who’s work has been exhibited in Denmark at several occasions
malinahlsved – Malin Ahlsved is known for her small paintings with peculiar figures, her work was last seen in Denmark at Odrupgaard museum in 2012
villeand – Ville Andersson is a young award winning artist from Finland
tommitoija – Tommi Toija is the artist known for his pissing statue Bad Bad Boy at Helsinki harbour
For bigger institutions social media has high marketing value. It is also a good tool for networking and building brands. According to Carrie Barrett, the Associate Director for Collections and Administration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the number of yearly visitors online is ten times the number of visitors at the actual museum. Much like for the artists, galleries and museums have found a way to easily communicate with their audience through social media. Several institutions are also using live broadcasting platforms, such as Periscope, to broadcast artist talks and other presentations to their live audience. Keep an eye out for Sotheby’s, for example.
The rapid changes taking place within the world of the digital are constantly giving rise to new forms of engagement. The National Gallery of Denmark, for example, has since 2012 been part of Google Art Project. This Google run database gives online visitors the possibility to visit museums around the world without leaving their homes. The Helsinki based art gallery Helsinki Contemporary launched their app, ARTAP, earlier this year. By downloading the app to your mobile device you’ll have the possibility to scroll through works by the gallery’s artists and try out how the artworks would look on your wall before you make the decision of buying them. In 2017 the Danish app, Artland, will be launched in English. Artland is the social network for art collectors giving them the possibility to open up their private art collections to the online community. Wydr, also known as the art world Tinder, is a comparable app where artists can sign up to sell their work. Similar to dating app Tinder, buyers can choose to swipe left or right depending on whether they like the art work displayed on the screen or not.
Five museums to check out on Instagram:
kiasmagram – part of the Finnish National Gallery, Kiasma museum of contemporary art in Helsinki is one of the most important institutions of contemporary art in Finland
ateneummuseum – part of the Finnish National Gallery, Ateneum in Helsinki is home to one of the finest collections of Finnish art, from classics to modern
emmamuseum – Espoo Museum of Modern Art is one of the biggest art museums in Finland
hamhelsinki – HAM, officially the Helsinki Art Museum, looks after an art collection that belongs to the people of Helsinki
sarahildenart – Sara Hildén Art Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum in Tampere
Five galleries to check out on Instagram:
helsinkicontemporary – Helsinki based commercial art gallery
galerieforsblom – Galerie Forsblom is a Helsinki based commercial art gallery
galerieanhava – Galerie Anhava is a Helsinki based commercial art gallery
muugalleria – MUU gallery is an uncommercial artist run gallery based in Helsinki
titanikgalleria – Titanik is an uncommercial artist run gallery in Turku
The demand for qualitative content online has generated many interesting platforms where arts is discussed, valued and sold. Sites like Artsy, Artnet, Artspace and Paddle8 deal with the high-end commercial side of the industry. These sites are for those who want to browse through massive databases, read the latest news from art fairs all over the world, and learn about the business. By signing up to their newsletters or just following them on social media you have the opportunity get updated on the latest from the art world. For those of you, who are not too fond of newsletters, tune in on the Artsy podcast and listen to the editors of the site talk art at their office in New York.
There are also more laid back platforms like much-hyped start-up Gertrude, a worldwide meetup platform for art saloons. Gertrude, named after writer and collector Gertrude Stein, is built on the idea that the experience of art is for everyone. By organising saloons in different parts of the world, the start-up aims to make art and talking about art more approachable to whoever you are. Gertrude i also behind Artlist, an online marketplace for private art sales with artworks coming directly from private collections worldwide. However, the fact that the site was shut down earlier this year shows how much in the making the online-based art market still is. To be launched in November, the Finnish platform Taiko is much like Artlist was, trying to change the ways in which we buy and sell art. By connecting artists and collectors though their online gallery platform, the people behind the project wish to make it easier for artists to sell their work, but also for collectors to buy art directly from the artists.
Other accounts to check out on Instagram:
unknowncargo – Unknown Cargo is an international art gallery for unknown artists
artnewsfinland – keeps you updated on the latest art news from Finland
finnishcontemporaryart – for checking out contemporary art from Finland
frame_finland – Frame is an advocate of Finnish contemporary art
finnishartagency – Helsinki-based service for artists, companies, art organizations and private individuals
chartartfair_official – Chart Art Fair is one of the leading art fairs of Nordic contemporary art, based in Copenhagen
kopenhagendk – the Copenhagen based online magazine keeps you updated on the Danish art scene
ihmefestival – IHME is an annual contemporary art festival in Helsinki
idoartdk – IDOART.DK is a personal Dansih blog about art, design and culture
finindk – that’s us, the Finnish Cultural Institute in Denmark
Finally, lets talk curating. With social media growing and becoming all the more important, people have started to pay more attention to the followers they have and the amount of them. The wish to be noticed and heard has resulted in a growing interest in how social media is done. Discussions have emerged of curated social media accounts with clear narratives, focusing on carefully selected subject matters and an aesthetic that reflects the visual world of the account’s owner. Visions and strategies are important, and one thing is certain, in order to catch people’s attention your pictures need to be visually interesting. As Rosie Dawkins, manager of the Instagram account of Sotheby’s Institute of Art, puts it: “in museums people stroll, on Instagram they scroll”.
And they scroll fast.