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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.

Five steps to the perfect arty Instagram in 2020

Here are our top tips to help you gain—and keep—new followers in the new year

Jeppe Hein's All You Are is the Result of What You Have Thought (2019) at Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019 © David Owens

New year, new you—or at least the appearance of a new you, outwardly displayed through the distanced comfort and filtered reality of social media. Here are our top tips to perfect your art Gram game in the new year.

Be reflective

No, not upon the state of society—literally reflective. Try as we might, Grammers can’t resist an art selfie. At Art Basel in Miami Beach earlier this month, VIPs queued to get a picture with Jeppe Hein’s neon work, All I Need Is Less (2019). The text, embedded in a two-way mirror, provides the “perfect excuse to take a photo of yourself without taking a selfie”, says the dealer Nicolai Wallner, who sold all three editions of the work at the fair and replaced it with All You Are is the Result of What You Have Thought, (2019). And if the work is reflective upon society? Then all the better.

Let the art speak for itself

Who wants to have to type out works’ underlying messages and art historical references on their phone while on the go? Text-based pieces, such as Hein’s, above, don’t require long captions of explanation, pack a punch, and can capture a mood. Mel Bochner’s glittery scrawl Everybody Is Full of Shit (2018) seems particularly apt these days.

Be there or be square

The art world is increasingly about the “event”—whether a star-studded gallery opening, an immersive art experience, or the year’s biggest art fairs. “More people are coming to fairs just for the Instagram moment,” says Alex Fitzgerald, an associate director at Andrew Kreps Gallery. Make sure you’re on the list.

Make ’em laugh

Instagram is the place to find the lighter side of the art world, with accounts full of sarcastic quips. The account @jerrygogosian describes itself as “the TMZ of the art world” and provides its followers with rumours, gossip and cutting memes. Ahead of the most recent Frieze London fair, an image of a giant tent flying into the blustery air was accompanied by the text: “It’s Frieze time again.” Find more comedic inspiration from @the_art_gorgeous, @classical_art_memes_official and @textsfromyourexistentialist.

Break the mould

Social media, just like the art world, favours the brave and is always looking for the next big thing. Do something different. Turn the Gram on its head. Surprise us all. And if all else fails—tape a banana to a wall.