Kanye West Joins Instagram, But Is It Art?

Yeezy insists his Instagram is art.

Kanye West has joined Instagram. Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images.

Kanye West has finally joined Instagram. And the art world is waiting with baited breath to see what the rapper and fashion designer will share on the social media platform after he announced in March that any of his uploads to the image sharing platform would be art.

“I was thinking about getting an Instagram but only on one condition,” West Tweeted at the time. “No one can ask me or try to tell me what to Instagram. It’s my art.”

A quick glance at the rapper’s verified account shows only a single image, a film still from the 1990 Hollywood film Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which Kanye shared with his 872,000-and-counting followers.

In West’s defense, the suggestion that Instagram could be art is not as ridiculous as it seems.

In fact, the medium has gained significant traction in the contemporary art world. London’s Tate Modern included Amalia Ulman’s Instagram-based selfie project in its recent group exhibition, “Performing for the Camera.”

A photo posted by Kanye West (@kanyewest) on

And who can forget about Richard Prince’s “New Portraits”? The artist’s controversial series—exhibited at New York’s Gagosian Gallery—consisted of pictures appropriated from the Instagram accounts of several (mostly female) celebrities, and models which were priced at $100,000 a piece.

Of course, Kanye has dipped his toe into the waters of contemporary art before. Most recently, he presented a controversial installation of twelve photorealistic sculptures of celebrities sharing an oversized bed, a Vincent Desiderio-inspired piece created for his “Famous” music video, at Los Angeles’s Blum & Poe gallery.

West was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago last year, starred with his wife Kim Kardashian in a very strange photo shoot with the German photographer Jürgen Teller, tapped Steve McQueen to direct his music video, and collaborated with Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft on numerous fashion shows for his clothing line.


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