Ways of Seeing Instagram

Richard Prince is making art by recycling Instagram screenshots. Dealers are hawking art via Instagram. The Met has even retained an Instagram guru “to play catch-up to figure out how best to exploit this online pictorial medium.”

A four-year-old app is dominating the art conversation as no purely art-related topic is.


Perhaps it’s not surprising that the average person would be more interested in their friend’s Instagram account than, say, Sigmar Polke at MoMA—but as far as Google knows, “Instagram” has been a more interesting subject to the masses than “art” itself since sometime last year. A force that important in visual culture is probably worth having a theory about. And in fact, rather than just being swept along by the stream of images, it may possible for art—and art history—to add something to understanding the photo-sharing obsession.


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