Instagram is all about delighting our visual fancies, whatever they may be. (Cute dogs? Check. Drool-worthy desserts? Check. Squishy, crackling slime? Check.) So it's not surprising that the art world has been experimenting with the platform in its own interesting ways. Enterprising artists, for instance, now use their profiles to sell directly to collectors. And as Caroline Goldstein reports for artnet News, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach recently launched an exhibition that will live exclusively on Instagram.
The show is called “Joyous Dystopia,” and you can find it at @thebasssquared, which the museum describes as its “satellite gallery.” To create the exhibition, the Bass partnered with Daata Editions, a platform that commissions and exhibits digital artworks. TheBass2 will post pieces by eight artists over eight weeks—Rosie McGinn, Elliot Dodd, Anaïs Duplan, Jeremy Couillard, Keren Cytter, Eve Papamargariti, Bob Bicknell-Knight and Scott Reeder—with each week of the exhibition devoted to a single artist.
According to Claire Selvin of Artnews, the artists will also make use of the Instagram’s additional features, like Instagram TV, where users can post long-form video. But “Joyous Dystopia” is not simply taking advantage of a relatively new platform; the featured artists “are commenting on more than just the platform itself, but how they, as artists, interact with it, sometimes with a quizzical, cynical spin,” David Gryn, Daata Editions founder and curator of the new show, tells Goldstein.
First up was McGinn, who, according to her website, is “interested in unpicking life's fleeting moments of euphoria and despair” through various mediums, including video. Her inaugural piece for “Joyous Dystopia” was a new work titled God is a DJ, which combines footage of orchestra conductors with thumping DJ sets. The most recent artist featured on @thebasssquared is Jeremy Couillard, who uses sculpture, drawing and moving images in an effort to "highlight and undermine this contemporary masculinity sense of authority."
Many museums have become adept at using social media to entice younger and more diverse audiences to their hallowed halls—in 2015, as an example, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art won a Webby Award for its Snapchat account—but the Bass deliberately sought to make “Joyous Dystopia” something distinct from its physical exhibition space. Bass curator Leilani Lynch tells Selvin that the premise of the show “is actually quite simple”; it seeks to engage audiences “in a way that is native to them, through their phones.”
“Joyous Dystopia” is an experiment, and its organizers are excited to see how users interact with it. If all goes well, Lynch tells Selvin, the Bass may experiment with other digital projects in the future.