Artists are embracing Instagram to spread their work and experiment before an instantly responsive audience. Installation images garner the most red hearts, with practitioners who create site-specific, immersive and architectural artworks amassing large followings fast. Here’s a selection of 12 artists to follow on Instagram, with feeds that demonstrate the power of the small, square screen.
Daniel Arsham’s discombobulating installations combine art, design and architecture with a heavy dose of surrealism – all captured in teasing Instagram clips and photos. His feed is also peppered by envy-inducing snapshots of his Brooklyn studio, complete with one of his figures ‘trapped’ inside the walls.
Andrea Zittel is a one-woman ‘institute of investigative living’, who conducts her research at her highly photogenic creative retreat in Joshua Tree, California. Architecture, food, and clothes are all part of her mission to ‘better understand human nature’, as documented in her sun-drenched photographs.
Ai Weiwei has long been adept at using social media to project his blend of artistic innovation and dynamic political agenda, so it’s no surprise to find the Chinese renegade artist on Instagram. His feed is intimate, interspersing procedural shots of his trees and sunflower seeds being installed in Jerusalem, Venice and Beirut with wonky selfies alongside the likes of Olafur Eliasson. The pictures are rarely captioned, but commentators revel in scrambling to identify the places and starry faces featured.
The French artist known as JR – a pseudonym – is one of the most popular artists you should follow on Instagram (1m, and counting). Described as ‘the Cartier Bresson of the 21st century’, JR flyposts his vast monochrome photographs in public spaces around the world. His feed records his unusual take on street art and graffiti.
Edoardo Tresoldi’s shimmering mesh works were built to go viral on Instagram. His otherworldly architectural sculptures – echoes of Italian churches and classical columned courtyards – have been erected around the world, and their photographic incarnations have garnered the young Italian artist an avid fanclub on social media.
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson plays with the elements to create his large-scale installations. He’s filled the Tate Modern with sunshine and mist, conjured waterfalls in New York and turned the floor of Denmark’s Louisiana Museum into a dry riverbed. But his feed isn’t just filled with his own insta-friendly feats – he shares work by his fellow artists as well as snippets of talks and workshops, such as his Green light workshop, a shared learning project at the Venice Biennale.
Installation artist Shiota uses hundreds of kilometres of yarn for her spine-tingling pieces, which fill gallery rooms, church spires, stage sets and abandoned caves with matted webs. ‘I use thread to represent the relationships between people,’ the artist explains in one caption. ‘As I weave I am connecting one human to another until I create a massive web of human memory…’
As the most famous anonymous artist in the world right now – his one-off pieces constantly under threat of obliteration by overzealous council employees – it’s no surprise that Banksy has turned to Instagram to permanently record his satirical and subversive urban artworks. While only sporadically updated, his feed is a good place to check if his works are genuine – most recently, the feed confirmed Banksy’s authorship of a Dover mural featuring a workman up a ladder dismantling the EU flag.
Instagram has transformed the way people can experience video art, bringing it directly to the smartphone, and therefore the eye, of a new audience. Multimedia artist Doug Aitken, known for his site-specific pieces and ‘happenings’, has embraced the medium, using it to present clips from his videos and exquisitely shot explorations of his installations, such as the mirrored Mirage House in the Californian desert and the ‘anger room’ at Denmarks ARoS Triennial.
British-born, New York-based artist Shantell Martin is known for her gleeful, simplistic line drawings that cover walls, clothes, textiles sunglasses and street shutters with mantras, blobs and quizzical faces. Her feed is a light hearted mash-up of art and inspiration, particularly for those of a monochrome bent.
The momentous works of Anish Kapoor scale perfectly to the small screen. Under the moniker ‘Dirty Corner’, the artist features old favourites, current exhibitions and new proposals, such as his design for the UK’s Holocaust Memorial, as well as stinging words on the subject of Brexit.
As the definitive YBA, it would be a travesty if Damien Hirst wasn’t making the most of the technology at his disposal. But there are no shock tactics here. The artist’s Instagram feed – with an audience of nearly 220k – plays it straight, featuring stunning shots of recent exhibitions including his latest, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.