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Insta’ gratification

Insta’ gratification is a monthly blog by Aimee Dawson, our Associate Digital Editor. Looking at how the art world and Instagram collide, each article tackles a topic around the innovations and challenges that spring up when art enters the digital world.

Gram today, gone tomorrow? Kenny Schachter predicts Instagram's future in 2021

The avid Instagram user and art world oracle forecasts the fortunes of the art world's favourite app

Veteran dealer, writer and avid Instagram user Kenny Schachter gives us his predictions for the art world's favourite app Courtesy of Kenny Schachter

It is that time when everyone scrabbles predictions for the year ahead—but after the left-field unpredictability of 2020, how could one possibly guess at what treats 2021 has in store? Veteran dealer, writer and avid Instagram user Kenny Schachter thinks he's got the measure of the art world's favourite app. Here is his forecast for Instagram's future.

1. Soon, everyone you know will be buying art there (even your granny)

People too readily discount the layered effects of Instagram on the art world and market. A recent study of collectors—the New York Art Market Report—by the noted art economist Clare McAndrew found that only 22% of the respondents had bought art in OVRs (online viewing rooms). But when I questioned her, she acknowledged that those surveyed were… umm… old! I find that younger buyers­­—from those in their early 20s to even my age (late 50s)—have already warmed up to purchasing art on Instagram. It is the most readily accessible manner in which to locate, experience and consume art.

2. The trolls will take over and make the place toxic

When Instagram accounts that are largely unaccounted for (by way of the people behind them) act as judge and jury, it does no one any good, and I think most refer to them as a guilty pleasure in the human proclivity to get kicks out of other’s misfortune (ie, looky-loos, people who stop to stare at car crashes). They should be regulated in some manner, or be more transparent, in my opinion. Due to my no-holds-barred writing, which I fully take responsibility for, I have been the subject of campaigns by Jerry Gogosian (seeking out anyone I allegedly knowingly wrote falsely about) and worse—by a known bully of an art flipper—all to no avail. Unlike them, my life is an open book and I have nothing to hide, especially when it comes to the truth. When the trolls take over, I go back to newspapers and magazines to get my fingers dirty.

3. Believe it or not, Instagram will be replaced

We mustn’t forget that Instagram is just another online vehicle in the ever-monetised advertising arsenal of Zuckerberg and co, and it seems to get more commercialised (and controlled) by the day. Do you remember Vine? Me neither. But it was a video-sharing platform before YouTube that spawned many stars and contained a load of content before it disappeared (along with all their posts!).

Every week Instagram’s format seems to change, and it is only a matter of time before the powers that be get too greedy and the ease and accessibility of the app decline. I am all but certain that within the next five years, we will be addicted to yet another, as yet undefined, app that is sure to take the art world by storm. 

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 330 January 2021