Co-curated by Unit London and Avant Arte, the exhibition offered 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.
In 2016 art insurers Hiscox reported that 48% of art buyers use Instagram, and predicted that by 2017 there would be more art purchases online than via galleries, auction houses and art fairs. January 2017 saw 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 offered Avant Arte’s 400,000 followers a rare opportunity to see the art they have discovered online on the walls and foors of the central London gallery.
With more artists to be confrmed, artists for this special group show include Avant Arte’s Jason Seife (US), Lionel Smit (ZA), Brian Willmont (US), Unit London’s Ryan Hewett (ZA), Ivan Alifan (CA) and Massimo Agostinelli (IT). The exhibition followed 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.
Avant Arte was launched in 2014 by two entrepreneurial young art lovers from Holland, Curtis Penning (22) and Christian Luiten (24). In June 2016 Huffngton Post listed Avante Arte as one of the most infuential art Instagram accounts. The account – and the accompanying ‘Tinder for Art’ App – enables art lovers to swipe through art, discover new artists and connect directly with the artist, gallery or museum. Driven by the desire to democratise the process of finding and buying contemporary art, Avant Arte has built an online following of over 400,000. With 16/17 million views monthly, followers are growing at 10-14K per week.
“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.”
– Christian Luiten and Curtis Penning, Co-Directors of Avant Arte
“We began as a pop-up with no permanent gallery 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 affnity 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.”
– Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, Co-Directors of Unit London
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