Art In The Instagram Age The social media app Instagram is plastered with artwork, ranging from selfies inside Yayoi Kusama's mirrored rooms, to snapshots of the iconic "Mona Lisa" to short poems and colorful, inspirational messages. But how does the app affect how we engage with all these works — and how makers and museums create and share it? We talked with artists, curators and critics for a look at art in the age of Instagram.
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Instagram Is Reshaping How We Interact With Art And How Artists Create It

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Instagram Is Reshaping How We Interact With Art And How Artists Create It

Instagram Is Reshaping How We Interact With Art And How Artists Create It

Instagram Is Reshaping How We Interact With Art And How Artists Create It

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/720032740/720862088" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A woman enters the The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away room during a preview of the Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A woman enters the The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away room during a preview of the Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

If you've stepped into an art museum in the last five years, you've likely taken a photo for Instagram. The social media platform seems to have changed how museums present exhibitions and how visitors interact with museums. The effect of Instagram on the art world reaches beyond these institutions, their curators and their guests, though. The platform is shaping how some artists find a spotlight — and how they create, too.

Instagram is all at once a workshop, a gallery and a museum. It gives artists room to experiment, a venue to share finished work, plus it gives users an ability to connect to makers directly. Some artists and poets have leveraged their Instagram feeds into corporate sponsorships, into T-shirt collaborations, merchandise lines and book deals. The platform can help them launch their careers.

But finding success on Instagram doesn't necessarily mean finding success in the real world — and the app's algorithm, which prioritizes giving audiences more of what they already love, can throw a wrench into artists' creative process. Some worry the algorithm's priority separates the artist from the art.

We talked with people in the Instagram art world orbit — artists, museum curators and art critics — for their perspective on how the social media site is reshaping how we interact with art, and how it is created.

You can follow Adam J. Kurtz on Instagram at @adamjk, Timothy Goodman at @timothygoodman and Pavana Reddy at @mazadohta. You can follow host Sam Sanders on Twitter at @samsanders and tweet your feels to @NPRItsBeenaMin.

This episode was produced and edited for Broadcast by Anjuli Sastry, Alexander McCall and Jordana Hochman.