Tag: Ai Weiwei

Instagram art

Instagram can be an extension of how an artist represents him or her self, but also as an extension of their art practice itself. Instagram seems to have managed to democratize the art world by allowing every artist the same chance of exposure. Artists now have new ways of seeing and creating the kind of content that might be shared. They can check in on how their content is being evaluated straight away. Is it the equivalent for the art world to what Spotify did for music and Netflix for the film industry? Thanks to the platform, artists have gotten book deals with prestigious publishers, solo shows, and made direct sales by DM. They get instant gratification when posting artwork and getting likes.  However, some say this spoils the work; it’s been seen too much. Some artists are also getting ripped off by other artists as well as corporate creatives and big fashion brands. Museums exhibitions are designed to spread well on social media. Instagrammability becomes more important. Successful Instagrammers are invited to take photos of the latest exhibitions to appeal to the younger generation. Some artists will just show their regular work while others make content just for the app. Anonymity can be an attraction for artists to try things they would not do under their own name, but censorship from Instagram can be a hindrance. When naked women’s breasts are involved, the image gets removed or the user blocked. Socio-political issues like body-shaming, racism, homophobia, climate change or species extinction are also tackled on Instagram. I have written about Feminist artists on social media before and I will feature some below again.
Photos of artworks are a big challenge for any Instagrammer, one has to “contextualize” the work. A frontal shot of a painting does not get enough likes. The image must have the “wow effect”.  Put it in relation to its surroundings, architecture or people. So that people can even recognize the dimensions of a work of art. Pictures of people in front of a work with the hashtag #artwatchers. Sometimes people seem to merge with the work because of there clothes or the pose they take. Art can be reduced to just a beautiful background for a selfie.
Many Big-name artists have embraced the medium. Cindy Sherman, who invented the selfie genre even before smartphones even existed has 261k followers. Ai Weiwei has 518k followers, Martin Creed, 1.2k
and Jeff Koons has 341k followers. When Banksy (6.2m followers) automatically shredded his image in the frame after the auction he announced this first on Instagram. They all do not just show on Instagram, they play with the self-presentation and their works.
And sometimes Instagram art makes it back into the physical space. Controversially Richard Prince blew up screenshots of other people’s Instagrams and showed them under the title “New Portraits” at  Frieze Art Fair New York in 2015.
Here are some examples of different kind of accounts I have talked about.   
Ai Weiwei does not show his work on Instagram, but migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos or a video of the destruction of his Beijing studio.
Martin Creed has very short videos and funny images of himself on his personal account and sometimes of his work too.
Cindy Sherman has been using Instagram to show images, unlike anything she has created in her long and successful career so far.
After Petra Collins Instagram account was removed when she posted an unwaxed in a bikini selfie she wrote an essay, speaking out against misogyny.
Kliu Wong account consists of colorful paintings, illustrations, zines, murals dolls and items of clothing.
Anabel Venegas and Tina Maria Elena Bak show their erotic watercolors and drawings and sell directly via DM or webshop.
Jordan Watson aka. Love Watts shows a mixture of art in all its forms.
Martin Skauen Martymixx on Instagram makes cartoons and animations.
What images want challenges the presentation and perception of art, creating an immersive experience beyond the exhibition.
no.projekt might not be a project but is an intriguing account that can be seen as an artwork in itself.
Witte Wartena shows mainly his newest work with occasional making of videos and photos and sometimes his reference material.
Daniel Rueda + Anna Devís interact with art and architecture in beautiful and funny ways.
Stefan Draschan photographs people in museums looking at art that mimic the work in some way or another.
Frida Orupabo showed a nine-channel installation at the Venice Biennale based on her Instagramming. Probably the first Instagram work was shown at such an important art Exhibition.

Emancipation of Craft

The Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum is changing its name to Craft Contemporary. Executive director, Suzanne Isken said: “All this stuff — folk art, craft, contemporary art, fine art, high art, low art, street art — it all comes together in one category: art. So for us, those categories aren’t useful anymore.” She wants to blur the boundaries. To show fine artists working in glass, metal, cut paper or even sugar as well as conceptual craft artists.
The art world used to be rather condescending about crafts. It was also often associated with women while the art world is still largely male. But a shift seems to be happening. First, it was Drawing made a revival. Later printmaking, ceramics, glass and textile art followed. Grayson Perry was one of the first people working in a craft medium to be taken seriously by the art world. When won the Turner Prize in 2003, he said: “it’s about time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize”. Proclaiming that the Art world found it easier to accept that he was a transvestite than that he made pots. He has been instrumental in giving craft more prominence. In 2012 he curated an exhibition at the British Museum titled “The tomb of the unknown craftsman”

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The transition between the formerly strictly separated categories is further accelerated. A new generation of artists is experimenting with mediums associated with crafts. Traditional activities are getting more accepted as contemporary art. Many of works made in the past focused on skill, not on content. Cross-disciplinary artists are blurring the lines using underestimated mediums.
We have to get away from categorization, in the end, the difference between art and craft is about context.
Recent craft exhibitions include;
EinDruck Ausstellung a show of 27 international pint artists in the Spinnerei Leipzig. 
CERAMIX showed contemporary ceramics in at Cité de la céramique Sèvres, La Maison Rouge and the Bonnefantenmuseum
The V&A organized a Craft Prize in partnership with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and the Crafts Council.
I already wrote about Drawing, textile art, and Printmaking. 
Here are some notable “craft” artists to consider.

Pregnant-Half-Tone-670x1024Elif Uras,
ChihulyUnionStation2016_0003_sml_1.jpgDale Chihuly,
Tomas Hillebrand,
Stephan Balkenhol, 9e2d771e815c3e3fdc741404a2d8cf93Katherine Gray, Screenshot 2019-02-13 at 16.28.44.pngEdmund de Waal, 04_12_01_damagedgoodsoverzichtAnne Wenzel and
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Ai Weiwei.