In 2016 art insurers Hiscox reported that 48% of art buyers use Instagram, and predicted that by 2017 there will be more art purchases online than via galleries, auction houses and art fairs. January 2017 sees innovative young gallery Unit London team up with fast-growing online art platform Avant Arte to stage an exhibition of art popularised via Instagram.
Co-curated by Unit London and Avant Arte, the exhibition offers Avant Arte’s 400,000 followers a rare opportunity to see the art they have discovered online on the walls and floors of the central London gallery. With more artists to be confirmed, artists for this special group show include Avant Arte’s Jason Seif (US) Lionel Smit (ZA) and Brian Willmont (US) and Unit London’s Ryan Hewett (ZA), Ivan Alifan (CA) and Massimo Agostinelli (IT). The exhibition follows Unit London’s Paintguide (2015/16), which showed art popularised solely by Instagram. The show - hailed as ‘the first Instagram curated art exhibition’ - generated huge attention, with a social media reach of 8.2 million views, 15 million unique impressions and queues around the block to view the exhibition.
Christian Luiten and Curtis Penning, Co-Directors of Avant Arte, said:
“We love what Unit London does and the way they do it. So, it is thrilling to join forces in this way - combining our energy, our networks and our commitment to spreading the word about great contemporary art to the widest possible audience. Since we launched in 2014, we have been busy curating art on Instagram, so the prospect of seeing the artists we have loved and shared online for real is an exciting prospect for us and our followers. Instagram is an incredible tool and a beautiful place - where it is possible to discover great art in all its wonderful diversity - but there is no substitute for seeing the art in real life. We can’t wait to see the art and each other in January.”
Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, Co-Directors of Unit London, said:
“We began as a pop-up with no permanent gallery space. As we moved from one temporary location to another, often the only place we could be found was on Instagram. We couldn’t have done what we have done without social media, so we feel an affinity with Avant Arte, who have made expert use of Instagram to build a global following. Like us, they are driven by the desire to expose amazing contemporary art to a broad, new audience. While we harness the power of social media at every turn, we believe that art is a fundamentally human experience and should be enjoyed as such. So, we are very excited to be collaborating with Avant Arte - offering their followers and ours the opportunity to see the artists they have discovered online right here at Unit London.”