Swizz Beatz and Simon de Pury Share Instagram Secrets at Exclusive Miami Panel
Find out why Snoop Dogg's Instagram feed puts De Pury in a good mood.
Amid the recent Miami art week frenzy of events, one of our hands-down favorites was a fascinating and entertaining—albeit exclusive—panel in which luminaries including collector and music impresario Swizz Beatz, contemporary art star Daniel Arsham, and legendary auctioneer and contemporary art specialist Simon de Pury discussed their respective Instagram addictions and ruminated on its broader impact in the realms of contemporary art, music, and culture.
The exclusive event was sponsored by artnet and Whitewall magazine, and held in the penthouse of the Faena hotel, with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. Champagne producer Perrier-Jouet has created a bespoke lounge there dubbed L’Eden where grand brut and rosé flowed along with the conversation and canapés.
Whitewall editor in chief Katy Donoghue served as moderator for the lively and entertainting panel. She started things off by asking each panelist how they got started on Instagram.
Swizz Beatz said his son kept insisting he join. He did and quickly got addicted. Then his son moved on to Snapchat and now keeps telling him he has to catch up to that.
Arsham said he is already a big fan of Snapchat “because it disappears. So if you did something that you shouldn’t have done, it’s gone the next day.” With respect to Instagram, he recounted how fellow artist KAWS attended his wedding and told Arsham that a picture texted to Arsham three days later could have been seen instantly if only Arsham was a part of Instagram. (Kaws had already posted the picture to his Instagram feed).
De Pury said he was successfully urged to join Instagram by the kale-obsessed Instagrammer Jean Pigozzi and uber-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. He also took the opportunity to give a shout out to Swizz Beatz’ Instagram name, saying: “You know, being Swiss, his Instagram is ‘the Real Swiss, so I’m happy to be here with ‘The Real Swiss.'”
“One of my absolute favorites is Snoop Dogg,” he said expressing his fandom of the rapper’s feed. “It has great humor. It’s very important to have humor in life. Whenever I go on Snoop Dogg’s account it puts me in a very good mood.”
The panel was a treasure trove of interesting factoids and anecdotes but here are a few of our favorites.
De Pury said he has discovered and bought a number of things on Instagram, sometimes by accident. “Sometimes it’s a painting in back of a painting. You see a booth of a gallery you immediately say ‘Whats the painting in the far back?’ I absolutely love Torey Thornton. The first time I ever saw a work of his was in an Instagram shot from the OHWOW gallery and it was not in the front. In the front there was a Lucien Smith.”
Swizz Beatz gave numerous examples of the power of a single Instagram post to shine a spotlight on fellow musicians or artists he likes, including a casual post he made while on vacation with his wife, singer Alicia Keys: “I posted a video of this African artist named WizKid and my wife was dancing to his music. It immediately became the most comments on my wife’s Instagram that ever happened. She was like ‘What’s happening? This is just me dancing to this African beat What’s going on? And then the numbers started coming in and I was just like, ‘Wow.’ After that I started following WizKid and he messaged me ‘Thank you so much, Africa’s going crazy because of this post.’ I started following more African artists and I think I’m almost ready to do a concert with all of these artists.”
Artist Mickalene Thomas was in the audience. She told Arsham that because of his Instagram feed she knows he has developed a practice of doodling and documenting the backs of hotel art during his travels, and asked him what his ultimate goal is. Arsham explained: “I think I was just bored one night and I took the hotel room art off the wall and I made a drawing on the back of it. That was probably five or six years ago. I’ve continued to do that and document it in all these different places. I document it, I know where the rooms are in which hotels. So I have this dream one day to give the curator the most impossible task ever, to basically say, ‘Here’s this list of hotels and all the room numbers and go try and convince the hotel to give these back to you. But it’s more just a document of travel really. They’re all in different locations.'” The room broke out in laughter when Thomas responded: ‘So which room are you staying at in Miami?’ Arsham said: “Good question.”
De Pury talked about the pros and cons of making an artist go “viral.” “My wife always tells me don’t post the artist that you love because it’s going to be so much harder to get them afterwards. And she is right. I just photographed a very young artist and he called me up and said, ‘Thank you so much, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing and I’m selling like hotcakes.’ And I said, ‘Don’t forget I still don’t own a single work of yours.'”
De Pury also shared an amusing anecdote about a case of mistaken identity. “So there is this fantastic restaurant in London called Novikov. There’s a beautlful bar and the bar has such an incredible pattern. So I made a close-up of that pattern and I just put hashtag Novikov and I had six or seven people call me up asking: “How can I get a painting by Novikov? How can I acquire one of is works?’ So it’s actually quite a powerful tool.”
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