Ranking among the social media giants, Instagram has over two billion users, reportedly the same figure as WhatsApp.
Naturally, it only makes sense that the app has turned into a tool for businesses, to share information and create communities over the years – evolving from the simple photosharing platform that was first launched in 2010.
The art world is a difficult place to navigate, yet certain online platforms, apps, and websites thankfully exist to assist in its understanding and enjoyment.
Questions may arise regarding the art world, the art market, or its history, and where best to learn more about this field than the infinite world of the internet.
Below is a selection of ten art world Instagram accounts to help traverse the at times turbulent waters of the cultural sector, and simultaneously enjoy the fun side of creative accounts.
The following includes an art critic, a photography editor, a meme maker, celebrations of diverse arts, and several others.
Discover, like, and share the art world through a different lens.
Emily Keegin’s (@emily_elsie) account is all about the stories. Follow her expert eyes in the field of photography as she looks through magazines, photo books and advertisements through the ages, occasionally delving into the details of a certain topic.
From photography trends to the evolution of its technology, Keegin posts mini-essays in her stories.
For example, during the summer of 2022, she dug into the controversy surrounding the Vogue photoshoot of Ukraine’s first lady Zelenska.
Keegin was ready with an archive of material demonstrating how this was not a first, and how male politicians have been photographed during periods of conflict and even in war zones.
From shorts made from Haribo packaging to underwear that doubles as a charcuterie board, Nicole McLaughlin’s (@nicolemclaughlin) designs have taken the internet by storm.
McLaughlin’s creativity holds no bounds, not limited to clothes and accessories, she plays with the idea of functionality and ready-mades, bringing an original and playful perspective to our clothes and the day-to-day objects surrounding us.
Usually, the pieces are prototypes and experimentations, yet several designs have become realities.
A successful collaboration with Crocs has seen the production of their rubber shoes accessorised with a survival kit for the outdoors, such as a compass, headlamp, carabiner and paracord.
A well-known American art critic, Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) has been writing for New York magazine since 2006.
Saltz is an active social media user, often interacting with his followers, asking for their opinion, and not always regarding the art world.
Leaving academia for his articles, column, and books, on social media, Saltz brings art to the everyman, poking for a discussion, a debate, or even an accumulation of mass interaction.
Saltz’s profile remains playful in a sector, which is sometimes considered exclusive, elite, or even only for those with higher education. Saltz’s wife, Roberta Smith, also works as an art critic, writing for the New York Times.
GREAT ART IN UGLY ROOMS
This one serves as a reminder of the importance of place, lighting and colour combination when it comes to hanging art.
Great Art In Ugly Rooms (@greatartinuglyrooms), an account run by the American artist Paul Kremer, collects images of paintings and artworks, which are by known artists (including prints, not only originals) that have been placed in awkward rooms, left on the floor against a wall, clashing wallpaper, squished among other works, or even obstructed by objects in the so-called “ugly room”.
Some of the works mentioned are by artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Picasso, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Egon Schiele, and many more.
Have you ever seen an artwork and immediately thought “this artist’s work looks very similar to another artist’s work”?
The account Who’s Who (@whos__who) looks at exactly that phenomenon.
Collecting similar-looking works, often seeming identical, it comments on the image with the names of the artists mentioned. An example of similar-looking artworks is the use of a yellow telephone as similarly depicted by artists Martin Boyce, Rob Davis and Paul Sietsema.
Comparing these works stimulates a train of thought as to how artists are often influenced by their contemporaries, their precedents, as well as those they have studied and admired.
STILL HERE STILL LIFE
This is a celebration of the still life, a theme that has been a constant throughout the years.
The account (@stillherestilllife) collects illustrations, drawings, examples of digital art, and so on – all working on the subject of the still life, presenting a variety of still life compositions in contemporary illustration.
The account is run by two illustrators, Zena Okay and Tess Smith-Roberts, bringing together examples of still life into one place.
From fruit bowls to waffles for breakfast to cutlery to packaging on a table, the images collected create a community of one theme yet each one is as original as the next.
Created and curated by Italian architect, Davide Trabucco, the Conformi (@conformi) account has grown from strength to strength since its start in 2015 to today’s following of 75,000.
Trabucco presents his sliced images, a combination of pictures collaged into the Instagram square, creating a new version of the images.
Using known photographs or images of artworks, such as paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as well as examples of architecture and design, Conformi demonstrates how easily these forms mould into each other, motivating a fresh perspective.
Not only limited to the art world, Trabucco also uses images from current affairs, and photojournalism, creating commentary when different worlds collide.
Davide Trabucco, confórmi, "Apollodorus of Damascus, Pantheon, Rome, Italy, 120-124 VS El Khasneh al Faroun, Petra, Jordan, 1st century AD", 2021
THE GREAT WOMEN ARTISTS
The account’s (@thegreatwomenartists) name is a reference to a 1971 essay by American art historian Linda Nochlin titled “Why have there been no great women artists?”.
The account’s founder is Katy Hessel, art historian and author of the recent publication, The Story Of Art Without Men.
Hessel brings the focus on female and non-binary artists who are often forgotten in the art historical narrative. With the account, she concentrates on and celebrates the art of one figure at a time, describing the artist’s style, their life, and the impact of their work.
Evolving into a podcast, Hessel interviews a range of contemporary creatives, recently speaking with Tracey Emin, as well as covering the art of late artists.
Freeze Magazine (@freeze_magazine) was launched in 2019 by artist and curator, Cem A.
Not only poking fun at and criticising the sector’s hypocrisy but also exploring themes of alienation and survival in the art world, the account shares “homemade art memes for pretentious VIPs” that investigate certain norms and expectations.
With over 143,000 followers, the account has touched a nerve, as it seems that many can relate to and enjoy the combination of meme and pop culture images with art world commentary.
Freeze_Magazine questions the existence of meme culture within the art world and whether they are accepted mediums of internet art, as they create a narrative on current affairs, culture, and society.
MY ART GUIDES
This is a useful and growing digital (and in-print guide) to art hub cities around the world, including Paris, London, Venice, Miami, Beijing, and several other destinations.
Created by Lightbox, a publishing house and communication company specialising in contemporary art, My Art Guides (@myartguides) is a handy app to have on you to navigate the art scene whether in your own city, on holiday, or visiting during important events in the art world calendar, such as Paris Art Week or Salone Del Mobile in Milan.
The account/app/online platform highlights not-to-be-missed exhibitions, cultural events, and interviews with artists and curators, and even offers a selection of places to eat and stay to cover all the bases.
Cover Credit: A Paper Creative
Writer | Glesni Trefor Williams
Glesni Trefor Williams is a Bologna-based art journalist/translator from North Wales, who focuses her writing on contemporary art and interlinked exhibition spaces. She has written for Lampoon, Spinosa Magazine, and is an arts contributor on BBC Wales radio. @glesniw