Social Media Helps Boost the Arts, But at What Cost?

Writer Stephanie Mlot talks about the impact that social media has on art in the modern day. She starts with “it could be argued that social media is the next great form of art” this is a pretty stunning statement, to me at least. I do not agree with this claim, as she brings up the example of instagram and it’s impact. It is really hard for me to see instagram or other social networks as an art form. Do you think instagram, twitter, pinterest… are art forms?

I can definitely see instagram as a place to show art, but it is not art itself. Although I do agree that the Internet and social media have changed the way art organizations stage performances, showcase exhibits, engage audiences, sell tickets, and raise funds. Although many changes have been made due to technological advances, most art organizations believe technology is “very important” to their organization, it’s even making art a more participatory experience. Many of these organizations have embraced social media and have begun using their tools to promote work. Although set-backs do follow this progress. Unfiltered public criticism is a big issue because it is so hard to filter out all the criticism in such an open and free form of communication.

I really can’t decide whether social media and the internet are good or bad. I can’t help but think of Ai weiwei and his frequent use of twitter. When he began to use twitter to get info the public needed to know out into the open,  was a huge step for him as an artist/activist. Ai weiwei uses twitter a lot and from what I’ve seen it’s been for good. Content is unlimited on the internet, people post, share, tweet, retweet all kinds of art daily and this has created an unrealistic expectation for many art organizations. It has created the expectation of free digital content. In my opinion, and from what I picked up in this article, the internet and social media is great for aspiring artists, and bad for organizations associated with the art world.,2817,2413832,00.asp



3 thoughts on “Social Media Helps Boost the Arts, But at What Cost?

  1. You bring up a very interesting question and topic of discussion; is instagram the next major art form? I’d have to agree with you, that I personally don’t look at instagram or pinterest and think that everything we see is meant to be conveyed as an art form. To me, instagram and pinterest are places I go to when I need some ideas for reception food, a place to see what’s new in fashion, and to look up tips on how to keep my succulents from dying. They are places that people post their dinner, their outfit of choice for the day, or some new craft they came up with. I look at them as ways for people to update their lifestyle choices to family, friends, and fans rather than as an art form.
    I don’t look at these websites as places to look for artists, but I am aware now that there are artists whose work is solely done through social media. I put a line between artists who post their work on social media, and artists who use social media as their art. I believe social media is a great tool for popularizing artists and advertising gallery shows or other art events in the art world, but unless I know an artist’s work is purely the interaction of social media, I don’t identify their work as being totally based in social media. Perhaps this will be the next major shift in the art world; maybe soon we will have a more clear indication of artists who use social media as their medium, and artists who use social media to advertise their work and gain popularity.


  2. Social media — the next major art form? I like where Jayna was going with the end of her comment. She was saying the next movement of art might be using social media as their medium. This might seem crazy and weird to us now but as Josh said previously Ai Weiwei is forging the way. I think what he is doing is an art form and his medium is definitely social media for some of his work. He is being very intentional about the photos he takes and the words he uses when he posts on Instagram and Twitter. He creates a form of art that is ACCESSIBLE. This is the importance I see in social media art. A platform that is free for everyone that has access to the internet. This is a medium that does not need to be restricted by gallery walls because the social media site can become a gallery in itself. And yes we can argue that physical art, real paintings, and sculptures have more value because it is traditional and how it has always been. But I think their is high value in creating art that is meant to be shown specifically on social media. Especially with the focus of our class being globalization. Social media based arts and using social media as a platform for artists to share their work has become the best way to connect internationally and get rid of our boarders. Here are two examples of social media based artists and there are many many more (especially as we talked about memes last week in class as art forms @arthistorysnap):

    -Creates classic Instagram photos but uses a barbie to show how we choose to present our image online, calling to question the authenticity and motives of our posts.

    -Takes a picture of the same tree in the same spot everyday.


  3. When Social Media and Art Collide

    Josh, I agree on the idea that Instagram and Social Media cannot be an art form, but yes, rather a means to display/share ideas and art. It is a means to an end. The media we disseminate to the internet is not art because of the platform but it is through the platform that we have the ability to access the art. If someone calls their photo on Facebook a work of art, then yes, the photo can be consider an work of art, but not the means that is was accessed through.

    I personally like to think of the internet as a tool, a medium that is more accessible to most and a way to communicate among many. It has the ability to educate people across the globe and unite them in ways other mediums could not. However, the internet does have its drawbacks. A large portion of the internet is not accessible through conventional browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari and Mozilla Firefox. It is accessible through encrypted browsers such as Tor, an acronym for the onion router, peeling off layers of data from site to site. It is through this medium that many negative connotations can be strung along with the Internet, so I would also agree that it is okay to be on the fence on social media and the internet being good or bad.

    This media has the potential to distribute large amounts of information to a large amount of people, which is indeed beneficial (or possibly derogative). In terms of activism, Ai Weiwei does have an interesting outlet to disperse his ideas and inspirations to a great amount of people, giving some of the power from top-down. This creates opportunities and then in turn possibilities for change.


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