2021-02-03 15:00:05 | 5 Art Accounts to Follow on Instagram Now

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Story by: Jason Farago The New York Times World News

In the years B.C. — Before Covid-19 — I was convinced that museums and Instagram were fundamentally opponents. Both are storehouses of images, classified, displayed and valorized according to certain governing rules. But whereas museums locate the importance of pictures in their artistic value or their historical lineage, Instagram ascribes value through a simpler, tougher logic: the tyranny of likes.

My horror at Instagram has softened since the first lockdown, and I’ve accepted that social media can have real value when museums treat their accounts as extensions of their programs and not simply as promotional channels. That means no dress-up-as-your-favorite-painting competitions, no happy-national-cookie-day posts. In all spaces, real and virtual, museums should be thinking and acting with a single mission.

And on Instagram, at least, the world’s largest museums have to work in the same format as smaller, more specialized and more remote institutions — letting me feel that I have as much attachment to far-flung places as I do to the Met or the Getty. Here are five museums with smaller Instagram followings that I rely on to keep my feed fresh.

The Uffizi draws the crowds, Michelangelo’s David pulls the selfie sticks, but Florence’s most eclectic and enticing museum is this villa on a Tuscan hillside, where an Anglo-Italian amateur named Frederick Stibbert spent his vast inheritance on a regiment’s worth of shields and sallets, cutlasses and cuirasses. On Instagram, this private armory offers close-ups of spectacular gilded horse coverings; gem-encrusted Turkish sabers; or a hefty suit of plate armor made for Emperor Maximilian, topped off with a helmet shaped like a lion’s head. There are also frequent views of Stibbert’s notable collection of Japanese arms and armor — among the first in the West — such as a 15th-century tanto, or samurai sword, whose blade is graven with watery calligraphy.

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Museums devoted to a single artist often get a bit peculiar, but few rival this Norwegian institution dedicated to one of Europe’s strangest and most compelling modernist sculptors. Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) channeled the new modeling techniques of Auguste Rodin or Antoine Bourdelle into a singular, almost medieval stylization, and this museum, housed in Vigeland’s former studio, posts countless views of his huddled granite nudes and towering plaster heroes. The account also brings you to the wonderfully bizarre Vigelandsparken, one of the most popular tourist sites in Oslo, which the sculptor worked on later in life. Its ornamental gardens, lorded over by a towering monolith of naked tumblers, speckled with bronzes of giant grouchy babies, present a kind of Nordic “Last Year at Marienbad.”

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Visitors to the Greek capital too often hone in on classical monuments and miss its modern history — above all the war of independence against the Ottoman Empire that gripped Lord Byron, Eugène Delacroix and other Romantic writers and painters. This account of modern Athenian history features maps, engravings, photographs and popular posters, made by both local artists and visiting philhellenes, mostly presented as a succession of “on this day” anniversaries. On Sept. 12, the museum commemorated the last battle of the Greek War of Independence with a vigorous Delacroix equestrian picture; on Oct. 12, it celebrated the end of Nazi occupation with a photo of an exuberant Athenian street party.

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Source References: The New York Times World News

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