Effects of Social Media on Art

Four You Gallery
July 21 2021| Aline

In this exact moment, social media has had the most impact on everything in history. What’s crazier is that in this exact moment, social media has the least impact on everything that it will have in the future. Let that sink in. Social media has made its way into every aspect of our lives, from shopping, to news, to health, activism, nutrition, etc … art is no exception. We’ve talked about the rise of digital art in a previous blog post but how has social media actually affected art? Seeing as art is both affected by and affects it host culture, it’s safe to assume it to be intertwined with social media. So, is social media taking away from the experience of art or is it simply changing the way people engage with art and artists?

The popularity of social media has completely transformed the current experience of visiting museums and galleries. Gone are the days when visitors weren’t allowed to take photographs of the artworks, which was usually for copyright reasons. Now, visitors are not only allowed, by are sometimes encouraged to snap a few pictures and share them on social media, all the while not forgetting to tag the location and use their hashtag, bringing more eyes and attention on the artwork. Yayoi Kusama is an excellent example of this, with millions of people taking selfies in her whimsical Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. “These are new ways to create community and share excitement in a really organic way; that’s a really positive thing. And it’s a way for people to share something they love or an experience that they have that is really powerful to them.” – Ingrid Langston, communications manager at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum.

On the other hand, some argue that said change in visitors’ experiences is taking away from the genuine appreciation of the artwork itself because these visitors’ focus is geared towards taking the perfect photo and uploading it to social media. Museums and galleries are now swarmed with people looking at the art “through the windowpane of their devices rather than directly with their own eyes.” – Naomi Martin. Vancouver-based artist iHeart has been focusing his graffiti stencils on the rising influence and repercussions of social media, mostly centering around the younger demographic. “I see people walking down streets barely glancing up from their devices. Digitally we’re hyper-connected and yet so disconnected from each other.”

Social media’s biggest impact has been giving the small and unnoticed artists a blank canvas for them to pour their creativity into and represent themselves and their uniqueness, reaching audiences they wouldn’t have otherwise and avoiding hefty gallery commission fees. Social media gives way for people to learn about the artists themselves, digging deeper into the person behind the artwork, creating new connections and inspiring experiences. “Using social media has long become part of many artists’ everyday lives”, says curator Anika Meier at the Leipzig Fine Arts Museum in Germany. Ultimately, it all comes down to each individual’s perception of social media and how it benefits or hurts both art and artists. One thing is for sure, those who are against it are likely to hop on the bandwagon because social media is here to stay!

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