Poodle / Bosc d’Anjou

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.

Poodle” by Jeff Koons, shared by the Museum of Art and Design, is part of a special exhibition at the Whitney.

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

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.

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