February 2, 2016; Observer
Last summer, we reported on the ways Instagram is revolutionizing the art world, and Tuesday’s #MuseumInstaSwap initiative is yet another example. For 24 hours, museums across New York shared images from another institution’s collection. For example, the Whitney Museum of American Art shared this vibrant jacquard tapestry by Ebony G Patterson, now on display at the Museum of Art and Design.
#EbonyGPatterson’s work endeavors to give visibility to subjects that are often on the margins of society. For the series of tapestries on view in Dead Treez @madmuseum, the artist borrowed vibrant elements from dancehall culture to draw attention to murder victims whose images she sourced via social media. Patterson adorns these jacquard tapestries, creating a visually seductive surface that draws the viewer in, challenging them to look closer and acknowledge the brutality experienced by those living on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder in Jamaica. #MuseumInstaSwap
“Poodle” by Jeff Koons, shared by the Museum of Art and Design, is part of a special exhibition at the Whitney.
#JeffKoons had his most comprehensive retrospective at @WhitneyMuseum’s #MarcelBreuer building, the final exhibition that took place there before the big move to the #RenzoPiano building in the Meatpacking District. His work “Poodle” (1991), made of polychromed wood, is currently on display in the museum’s “Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner” exhibition. This is one of a series of works Koons made in wood and ceramic, relying on the skills of traditionally trained European artisans. #MuseumInstaSwap #nyc @whitneymuseum #NewWhitney
A photo posted by Museum of Arts & Design | MAD (@madmuseum) on
The Guggenheim posted a photo of “the monumental Hoberman Sphere” at Liberty Science Center. Liberty Science Center showcased Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of natural light at the Guggenheim.
As we entered @LibertyScienceCenter for #MuseumInstaSwap, we were captivated by the monumental #HobermanSphere that hangs in the museum’s atrium (a much larger version of the iconic children’s toy.) The 700-pound aluminum Hoberman Sphere is the second largest in the world, expanding to a full diameter of 18 feet (5.5 meters). Suspended by cables with a pulley system and a computer timing its motions, the Sphere expands and contracts smoothly and continuously throughout the day. Over its 20+ years at the museum, the sphere has logged millions of cycles. Photo: Kris McKay (@kgprojects).
A photo posted by Guggenheim Museum (@guggenheim) on
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According to Wired Magazine, an algorithm determined these museum pairings based on a ranked list of prospective partners each participating institution submitted. Aside from encouraging camaraderie among the museums, the project also gives those of us outside of New York City the opportunity to look at art for free for the day.
Installed in the @museumofcityny lobby, “Starlight (Hanging Grid II)” is a dazzling light installation, designed by Cooper Joseph Studio. Shaped in dialogue with the design of the building’s historic stairway, the piece is a poignant reminder of how architecture can reflect and further the mission of a Museum–in this case to connect the city’s past and present. Similarly, the New Museum’s building was designed in response to the history and powerful personalities of both the institution and its storied site on the Bowery. #MuseumInstaSwap
A photo posted by New Museum (@newmuseum) on
Installed in the @studiomuseum lobby, you can’t miss #GlennLigon’s blinking neon installation “Give Us a Poem.” After a speech by Muhammed Ali at Harvard University in 1975, a student asked Ali to give the audience a poem. Ali replied “me, we.” As a museum for people of all backgrounds, we are drawn to this work as a poignant statement about identity and community that extends beyond our own. #MuseumInstaSwap
A photo posted by The Jewish Museum (@thejewishmuseum) on
This morning begins our #MuseumInstaSwap with @thejewishmuseum! First up is a beautiful site-specific installation in the Museum’s main lobby entitled Time Has No Shadows by Brazilian artist #ValeskaSoares. In Soares’ delicate and subtle work that attempts to give form to the passage of time, poetic texts are placed on a carpet in a spiral shape, with an antique pocket watch hanging over each text. This work is part of the series #UsingWalls in which artists of all backgrounds are commissioned to use the surface of the floors, walls and ceiling of the entrance lobby as their canvas. Be sure to follow @thejewishmuseum for photos from their trip the Studio Museum!
A photo posted by The Studio Museum in Harlem (@studiomuseum) on
Ten prominent London museums participated the first #MuseumInstaSwap last August. Institutions such as the British Museum and London Transport Museum exchanged over 100 works to promote on their Instagram accounts. The swap was conceived by Dorman Russell, a web editor at the Wellcome Collection. He explained to the Creators Project that the initiative was a way to “collaborate and share content in a new way, especially on a platform as engaging and dynamic as Instagram.” The interest and coverage generated by #InstaMuseumSwap inspired this week’s New York project, and as nonprofits increasingly turn to social media to get campaigns in front of the masses, thriving arts towns across the country may be wise to follow suit. Which city will #InstaMuseumSwap feature next?—Sabrina Crews