Gallerist Takes a Look At Instagram, Finds the Art World

by Paddy Johnson and Whitney Kimball on May 1, 2013 Off Our Chest

Image via: Andrew Kuo's Instagram

You’d think a post about Instagram would lead one beyond a handful of top art advisers. For Gallerist, this is not the case. Gallerist believes “the art world” has an Instagram obsession and seeks to prove this point by investigating whether deals occur thanks to the service. The whole feature hinges on dealer Dick Richter’s Dick Richter Gallery, an art gallery that sells secondary market art on an iphone, and collector and advisor Nino Mier, who has commented on Richter’s Instagram page.

The rest of the story is composed of dealers and rich people (the usual suspects) talking about a service they barely use.

The prominent art adviser Thea Westreich Wagner said she had “no idea” what Instagram was, but a member of her staff (the youngest and newest member, in fact) told her it would be useful for the business, so she started an account.

Once the concept was explained to her, she said, “I’m not against it, but I’m a little atavistic. It’s likely to produce a different way of negotiating the art world.”

Wagner’s one of many top dealers and advisors to express either their lack of expertise or ambivalence about the platform. On the other hand, Andrew Kuo, arguably the art world’s most popular Instagramer, with over 24,500 followers, is lumped in with “time-killing” posts which include Gavin Brown’s dental work and Jose Freire’s concert t-shirts. Kuo’s account, which focuses on the absurd relationship between people, animals, and the camera, certainly does more than “broadcasting a lot of cats.”

Making matters worse, Kuo’s the only successful Instagrammer to get a mention. Absent is Hyperallergic’s Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian, who’s posted close to 2000 photos and is New York’s most knowledgeable social media art critic. Nor does the piece mention anyone on Hyperallergic’s massive “Who to Follow on Instagram: Art Edition” guide. In fairness to Gallerist, though, one exception exists; both publications found MoMA’s account noteworthy.

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