For starters, one thing is clear: social media is redefining the way the art world does business! In the past year, over 80% of all millennial art buyers have purchased art online, with almost half of online buyers using Instagram to do so. Whether it’s for their facilitating sales or avoiding galleries, social networking platforms are making a big statement.
Who are the new generation of art consumers?
According to Brandwatch, as of May 2016, Instagram had 400 million active users, 90% of whom are under 35 and 60% of whom visit the platform daily. This makes Instagram the second most active social network, after Facebook. Add that to a string of artists who post their work daily which translates into a generation of young people interacting with the art world in ways never seen before. The availability of artworks in social networks has gradually diminished the importance of agents and galleries.
How has social media changed the art experience?
Whether for the fact that they facilitate sales or help avoid going to physical galleries, social networking sites are making a big statement these days. By limiting traditional means of communication, social media gives you the opportunity to tell your followers about yourself and what you do. Someone can ask about a piece, and in an instant, it’s sold.
The social media boom means that artists no longer have to rely solely on galleries and/or the art world elite to validate their success. Instead, the masses following their social media accounts are proof enough.
Gone are the days when artists were forced to rub shoulders with critics and collectors and work their way through shows before they could sell a single piece of art.
Is art being sold on social media platforms a good thing?
When we talk about art in social media, it is mainly about liberating and promoting art to a respectable extent. But it also raises questions of censorship and blurs the distinction between art and categories of creation or design that might aspire to that status. Many artists have become concerned by the lack of privacy for their works, for good reason.
The question of the social sharing of art is also relevant, especially with the rise of the artistic selfie oscillating between narcissism and promotion. When visiting a museum or exhibition, it is now commonplace to see viewers walking past the works, phone in hand, ready to take pictures and quickly publish them with the appropriate hashtag, thus looking at the art itself through the lenses of their cameras rather than with their own eyes. But does this yearning for the perfect post or story on Instagram get in the way of a genuine experience and appreciation of the art?