As an Experiment, Art Dealer Mark Borghi Used Instagram to Curate a Show. The Result Is Getting a Lot of ❤️
"InstaSelect," on view now at Mark Borghi Fine Art, features 25 artists who responded to an open call on Instagram.
It’s becoming increasingly important for art galleries to maintain a steady presence online, especially through social media. However, though that strategy can lead to a larger audience, it can also have a distancing effect, making galleries feel less connected to the tight-knit community of creators, curators, and administrators that make up the core of the art world.
“InstaSelect,” a group show, is composed entirely of artists who responded to an open call that the gallery put out on its Instagram account earlier this year. It’s installed in Borghi’s Upper East Side space in Manhattan, which he often uses for more “experimental” programming, and is on view through March 30th. (Borghi also own galleries in Bridgehampton and Palm Beach.)
“The idea for the show had been floating around in my head for a while,” Borghi told artnet News. “It started as a social experiment,” he said, explaining that he wanted to get a better sense of who makes up the gallery’s online audience. “It was a way to expand the type of programming, to engage with our audience, and to give back to our artists who do support us on Instagram.”
The gallery only put out its open call for artists in mid-January, just a little over a month before the opening of the show on February 22nd. But the limited timeframe didn’t end up posing a problem. All in all, the gallery—which has roughly 13,000 followers on Instagram—received several hundred submissions. From that bunch, Borghi and his team narrowed it down to the best 25.
“Admittedly, we had no idea what kind of work we would get,” he said. “But we were extremely impressed with the quality of submissions. When everything is of the same quality, a show—especially a large group show like this—will synthesize together. To that point, this really is cohesive as a show.”
It’s also a surprisingly diverse group, with artists hailing from seven different countries, and ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-70s. They cover a wide range of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation, and each participant’s work is for sale. The majority of the show’s US-based artists were able to make it to the opening.
The experience has exceeded expectations for the gallerist. “’InstaSelect’ was an experiment that we were excited about, and the results have been great,” he says. “Using Instagram, we were able to bring people who never would have had the chance to show at our gallery, and got a taste of quality work that we may want to exhibit in the future, especially from the international artists.”
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