The popularity of Instagram might be from its endless stream of filtered selfies and well-plated food, but it’s also a great platform to view the work of established, as well as up-and-coming, contemporary artists. With its focus on images, the platform has become important for showing off everything from installations to guerilla street art.
Including contemporary photographers, sculptors, painters and subversive street artists, here are seven amazing art world Instagram feeds to feast your eyes on and break the monotony of repetitive selfies.
This French artist who goes by the pseudonym JR has over one million followers on Instagram and has been described as “the Cartier Bresson of the 21st century.” JR’s Instagram account is a fascinating foray into the mind of a contemporary self-taught artist. Through media such as film, digital photography, image processing and video editing software, JR’s work meshes urban beauty and decay with surprising and unexpected street art.
As an international installation artist, Chiharu Shiota uses yarn to fill everything from gallery rooms to abandoned caves. In one caption on her Instagram account she writes, “I use thread to represent the relationships between people. As I weave, I am connecting one human to another until I create a massive web of human memory…”
Born in Osaka, Japan in 1972, Shiota now lives and works in Berlin. Her art focuses on exploring human relationships and existence, most especially through yarn, but also through drawings, sculptures, photography and videos.
With 10.4 million followers on his Instagram account, Banksy’s sometimes-satirical and often-subversive street art reaches an international group of avid fans. With a distinctive stenciling technique, the anonymous England-based artist creates pieces on publicly visible surfaces such as walls, which are regularly resold, often even by removing the piece of wall or other surface they were painted on.
Banksy continues his political push through his Instagram account, with recent posts about a yacht he purchased to rescue refugee calls that (according to Banksy) are being ignored by EU authorities. Another work recently posted, and now part of the Bristol Museum’s collection, is called “Devolved Parliament,” showing a Parliament full of monkeys.
With over twenty-six thousand followers on his Instagram account, this Miami-based artist creates vivid imagery in urban spaces that often reflect on his time growing up in the Dominican Republic. His website bio describes him as an autodidact figurative painter, muralist, and sculptor, who studied the old masters’ works and techniques.
Inspired by his observation of human behaviors and social struggles, Evoca1 (whose real name is Elio Mercado) is motivated by empathy and a self-described desire to merge art and humanity into a single creation.
From a MOMA exhibit back in 2012 to an Instagram account that takes the concept of the selfie to an entirely different level, Cindy Sherman’s photography examines women’s roles in history and contemporary society. She is her own model for most of her work, capturing distorted shots of herself in various (and often disturbing) guises. Using various wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman’s Instagram posts are commentary on selfie culture in general, and how much we can change our appearance to suit society’s demands. Her photography is held in collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Jewish Museum in Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.
Using zany crochet patterns as her artistic medium, Olek’s Instagram account reveals her personal philosophy that life and art are inseparable. From large-scale, brightly colored installations to wardrobe pieces, this Polish artist is inspired from her daily life in New York, where she crochets the story of her unique understanding of the world around her. Her work has included sculptures, crocheted bicycles, inflatables, performance pieces, and fiber art. She has even covered buildings, sculptures, people, and an apartment with crochet pieces, many of which can be seen on her Instagram page.
Featuring art that falls somewhere in between lowbrow and highbrow, Jeff Koons’ Instagram account combines kitsch and conceptual sculpture—many of which have been sold at private auctions throughout the world. Although his Instagram account has amassed almost four hundred thousand followers, Koons, himself is skeptical of the platform’s usefulness for artists. He once stated, “Instagram is social media. I follow it but my creative life happens somewhere else. If I’m walking around and something is really is of interest of me, I don’t just put it out [on the Internet]. I let things resonate a little bit. My art is a platform that consumes my need for some of these social media platforms.”