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The influence of images in the age of Instagram

The art market takes over the 40 billion pictures social network

The massive digitalization of the art market is undeniable, it also extends to Instagram, the #1 social network of image sharing. There are now 60% of French art galleries on this platform, alongside many museums, institutions, artists and influential curators.

A new showcase for contemporary art

At its inception in 2010, the social network Instagram was, like many networks, used exclusively for personal purposes. The profiles were those of individuals sharing their daily life through photographs and short videos. With 300 million users worldwide, this network has gradually opened to professionals, especially in the field of cultural and creative industries.

The use of Instagram by the actors of the art market is growing. Indeed, the 2016 Hiscox Online Art Market report reveals that the number of network users for art-related purpose grew 16% between 2015 and 2016, an increase greater than that of other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The vast majority of galleries communicate on social networks and the interest of collectors and art lovers is gradually increasing too.

On these networks, the market players are now called "influencers" museums are the most important, followed by galleries and artists. By revealing the scenes of a market often qualified as opaque, these influencers play a role in its democratization and transparency. Art critics, and curators have a strong influence on trends and it also shows on the web. The art world network is woven as much on the web than on the traditional market, the galleries follow other galleries and museums, collectors follow their favorite galleries.

New opportunities for art galleries

The contemporary art galleries adapt to market changes and the practices of their collectors. Indeed, some of them buy works of artists they discovered on Instagram through #hasthtag artists or through the page of the gallery that represents him, others see it as a great way to follow artistic trends. It is an easy to use network that passes almost exclusively through images and aesthetics.

Instagram has the advantage of being a fun tool. Indeed, it allows users to pause during the day while offering a general and educational view of what influencers share. It is a network used up to 5 times a day on average because it is accessible and active at any time. On Instagram, we are in contact with quality images of strong visual impact. This reveals the importance of images in leisure practices and in the actual consumer society.

Instagram also makes the art market more transparent. It allows access to a greater number of works of art, the backstages of galleries and events, the creative process in the workshops ... As for market players, they have become accessible and recognizable now that they conquered the pages of this social network. It is indeed observed that collectors seek human contact and prefer to follow the account of a member of the team or even the owner of the gallery rather than an impersonal account.

At the age of Instagram, which is the age of profusion of images and links, the galleries must follow this trend. The French galleries digitize gradually but are not yet at the same stage as champions in this field: the US.

Kenza Zidi

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