Is social media an art? My first reaction would be, no. I’m not trying to say that I don’t appreciate the way you chose Valencia and that artful blur instead of the more expected X Pro II on your Instagram of Old Campus. I do it too — and I love it — but to me those manipulations of an iPhoto just aren’t art.
Instagram forces its users to consider the world through a photographic lens, to take a picture of something they find beauty in and share it. Though it is certainly a step in the right direction, I would still argue that it falls short of being a true art form. It and its sister, Facebook, are a source of instant gratification — you post it, I like it, you feel good. 50 likes on that picture of my friend jogging up East Rock, I must be the new Richard Avedon. I’m hoping Yale students can peel their eyes away from their news feeds long enough to see some real art.
I’m not asking you to leave our little corner of New Haven, just x-out of Vine for a moment, scroll your thumb up to the App Store and check out these two apps.
This little-known, but extremely well designed, app lets you collect and follow artists and art enthusiasts with similar interests and tastes as you. You can find everything from Monet, to an up-and-coming contemporary artist, to someone who just loves to paint in his or her free time. You can also check out what’s trending within the general ArtStack community and find the coolest galleries to visit around the globe, inviting you to explore the art world beyond your screen.
However, if you can’t seem to fit a trip to New York (or Paris) into your schedule between section, lecture and that weekly meeting, ArtStack is a good way to stay connected to what and who is happening beyond the doors of Bass with weekly email of your “stack” highlights.
If you do manage to get on Metro North, or even travel to a closer gallery or museum in Connecticut, like the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield or Philip Johnson’s glass house in New Canaan, then you can tell the ArtStack community about it too. Just snap a picture, enter the artist and the title of the work and share it to your collection.
ArtStack brings art to the everyday, making scrolling through collections just as easy as checking out your friends’ late night debauchery on your news feed.
Sedition lets you “collect art in a digital age,” acting as an online auction house for limited edition contemporary digital art. Founded in London, but growing in America as well, Sedition allows its users to purchase contemporary screen art by leading artists for a very low price.
Similar to ArtStack, you build a collection of your favorite pieces, but instead of just photographing them, you own them. After you get bored of certain pieces, you can sell them and amass a new collection.
The art available for purchase on Sedition boasts works by leading contemporary artists like Damien Hirst and Yoko Ono. Every time you buy an original piece, it comes with a signed and authentic certificate, giving some sort of value to your online purchases.
For artistically inclined Yale students, Sedition is an affordable, simple and accessible option for beginning to build a collection. You can display your art on any of your devices. Though Audrey Hepburn posters will always be a staple in dorm art, Sedition allows students to broaden their artistic scope. As a plus, you won’t have to worry about peeling your decorations off the walls when May rolls around.
Of course, this move towards buying, selling and experiencing art online questions its validity. Do you really own an image if anyone can take a screenshot of it and set it as their background? Though ArtStack and Sedition reinvigorate the art scene by making it easy to access, I can’t help but feel as if the medium changes something inherent about the piece. If you put a screen between you and the work you’re experiencing, can you find that same emotional connection that you might when standing face-to-face with a massive Franz Kline or looking up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? I’m not totally convinced. Apps like ArtStack and Sedition are the first of many such platforms to come that will make art accessible and relevant in the everyday. Ultimately, if ArtStack is a legitimate art form, maybe Instagram is too. So keep posting those pictures of Harkness, and I just might throw you a like.