February 1, 2017
Is Social Media is Killing Art?
“This will look great on Snapchat,” I say as I click a selfie in front of the Mona Lisa. I glance down at my picture, satisfied with my bright smile that contrasts greatly to the stone-cold face of the Da Vinci portrait. Without a second glance at the actual art, I shuffle my way through the obnoxious crowds all holding their selfie sticks with their backs to the iconic painting.
“I know, if I post this on Instagram, it’ll get a ton of likes,” I think narcissistically to myself. Within hours, my post has racked up hundreds of likes and I can finally start to feel better about myself through the instant gratification of social media. But I couldn’t tell you what the back drop of the photo was, what the rest of the gallery looked like or which way her hair was parted. Why? Because I was too consumed with how my social media persona was doing in the online world.
The experience is no longer about embracing and enjoying the artwork, it’s reaping the benefits of an artist who created a masterpiece. However, I am not the only one to notice this lack of art appreciation and increase in self appreciation. Art for Instagram by Holly Williams explicitly talks about how we, as a population, are losing our appreciation for art and for others. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s obtrusive when people are “charging through the gallery just to find the best backdrop.”
Despite this, though, artists are gaining more recognition for their pieces. The “Rain Room” at LACMA exhibit has increased visitor attendance by more than 24% as compared to past years. So social media is ruining our experience of art, but is it helping struggling artists at the same time? I’m personally tired of seeing people use their selfie sticks to take pictures with the Girl with a Pearl Earring, using the Starry Night as a backdrop for a Snapchat and posting Instagrams with a giant, balloon animal. Why can’t we all go back to a time where we just enjoy looking at a masterpiece without having to post a photo of it?