The Art World Circa 2015, As Explained By the Glory of Instagram

Here are 18 images that, in this writer's opinion, define the bombastic absurdity and roaring financial dominance of the global art scene.

And we begin with the alpha and the omega of art world Instagram, Klaus Biesenbach. By the end of the year, even the founders of the app would be bowing down to the MoMA PS1 director, such is his complete devotion to the selfie and the hashtag. God, imagine reading that sentence in 2005. Totally meaningless. Here, we see an installation shot from the massive, gorgeous Mike Kelley show at PS1, which was up until this January. Really loved that beautiful show. Note: this will not be the last time Ol' Klausy is mentioned in the slideshow. Brace yourself.
Mr. Biesenbach's 'grammer-in-crime is the over-caffeinated curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. He uses this picture gizmo thing to promote what he calls The Handwriting Project, where he gets the world's great minds to write down a very, very earnest koan in their own hand. The world's greatest mind, Kanye West, wrote down this: "Good taste is a gift, but bad taste is a privilege."
So what's happening in the actual world, where people don't speak in inflated aphorisms about their own work? Oh, that's right, art is selling for a shitload of money. In February, Sotheby's gavelmeister Oliver Barker is pictured here as he gets ready to hammer this Richter for $17.4 million. What goes through your head when you successfully sell some swirly colors on a canvas for more money that your entire family has ever possessed?
After "Richard Serra: New Sculpture" closed at Gagosian Gallery, Larry and Serra decided to not hire any movers and take down the works themselves, pushing the massive maroon things onto trucks using God-given biceps and just a little bit of elbow grease. Kidding! Gogo just told like 200 workers to come and take care of it as quickly as possible. Not fast enough, though: everyone started to notice Serra's inadvertent street art as it sat on 24th Street and onto Instagram it went. It sort of became, like, a thing. Friends started texting me stuff like "let's go steal a Serra lol." Cecilia Alemani, the curator and director of High Line Art, snapped this one, presumably from the utterly Instagrammable former rail line that she gets to put art in. Oh, now we have the High Line to talk about. Well. Took my parents to the High Line this year. Ate that shit up. So easy.
And here you were thinking this is going to be a slideshow without cute animals. Shame, shame! This is Bertie, the Pomeranian of Kathy Grayson, proprietress of The Hole. Bertie is tiny and fluffy and can fit into purses and might be the most fucking adorable bit of cute on God's Green Instagram. So yeah. Super important.
Christie's had a hit with "If I Live I'll See You Tuesday," a special auction put together by Loic Gouzer that had the audacity to spotlight young painters like members of The Still House Collective. Some gasped, some yawned, and you couldn't really tell the difference because it's just mouths opening and closing. Anyhow, Mr. Gouzar tried to gin up some excitement by posting a little preview to his Instagram, the Joe Bradley and the Dan Colen you seen here, and I guess it worked: the sale pulled $134.6 million. Also: Mr. Gouzer dated January Jones once and is boys with Leo. So that's cool.
Another art world Instagram supahstah is Simon de Pury, who emerged from a post-Phillips de Pury sabbatical to curate a show at Venus Over Manhattan, "Fire!" Here he is with his buddy Mr. Obrist. They are both wearing funny hats at the stone-laying ceremony for the Franck Gehry-designed new headquarters for the Luma Foundation, in Arles, set to open in 2018.
It's not cold in New York in May, but there is some Frieze for a few days. That was an art joke and a weather joke! This is a Jack Pierson installation at Frieze New York, courtesy the official Instagram of Artsy, the art world startup.
Not technically an Instagram, but this is a picture of The First Family (Jay, Bey, Blue Ivy) checking out the Kara Walker installation at the Domino Sugar Factory. You know, the Creative Time gala where they unveiled that work, that was a fun party. A perfect Spring day, those little gin drinks with cute straws, girls in summer dresses. Why is it so cold and miserable now. It's so cold now.
Yes, I included a picture of myself from my own Instagram in this slideshow. But it's a pretty nifty shot of me in Istanbul, lighting a cigarette off an installation by Robert Montgomery, which the artist had moments before lit on fire. I could have burned my face off! I was out in Istanbul for the IST. Festival, which is one of the most exciting cultural festivals the world over. This year they had Jose Parla, JR, James Nares, and a host of other amazing artists in town to unveil work and speak on panels and give talks and chill. Istanbul, that's a hell of a town. Insanely tasty doner, and a metal bar called Rasputin that will play the same Judas Priest song two times in a span of 20 minutes if you ask nicely.
If you let Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist take over a big hanger next to the Art Basel tent on the Messeplatz for the latest installment of their performance art circus show, well...—were you expecting it not to overshadow the fair itself? Most of the good stuff at the fair was pre-sold anyway, So 14 Rooms, the show of 14 different small compartments taken on by 14 different artists, became the talk of Basel. Damien Hirst had a room, and this is his room. Yes, it's just hot twins reading the same book beneath Damien Hirst spot paintings and flipping the pages at the same time. It worked, promise!
Oh, you didn't spend the week after Basel on Dakis Joannou's yacht? Cecilia Alemani did. In case you forgot, this is indeed the yacht dubbed "Guilty," designed by Jeff Koons. Speaking of Koons...'s Koons time. We're finally back from Basel, land of the $80 cocktail, to explore the permutations of modesty at "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective." This is from the quite splendid Instagram of Elisabeth von Thurn Und Taxis, of her mother, smiling at some quite explicit glasswork.
The following is a statement made by Larry Gagosian regarding the Gagosian Gallery muckraker Derek Blasberg, who is pictured here at Burning Man: “Derek brings a new perspective to the gallery, and as one of the leading media voices in fashion and the creative arts, I think he will make a valuable contribution. Our aim is to create a diverse program, to inspire our audience and promote our artists. I look forward to working with Derek to broaden our reach.”
Jerry Saltz, the art critic for New York magazine, is seen here with his goddaughter, who has as parents Laurie Simmons and Carol Dunham. Jerry Saltz's goddaughter wrote a book this year.
Art Basel Miami Beach sold $3 billion in art. Hooray! Good job, guys! But everyone was talking about the Ryan McNamara performance. I couldn't eat a lobster canape at a Soho House party without someone telling me about the Ryan McNamara performance.
Takashi Murakami has a cute dog! Her name is Pom. I needed more adorable dogs to make this slideshow work, so here's an Instagram of Pom, the dog of Takashi Murakami. It totally explains the art world or whatever.
And now I give you the last Klaus Biesenbach Instagram. It was taken at his Christmas party. Marina, Gaga, Klaus, Franco, Courtney Love. Consider this the new art world Mount Rushmore

It’s possible that, today, the fine details of the jet-setting art scene have never been so thoroughly documented, dissected, discussed and devoured. And, no, it’s not a Sarah Thornton book that’s doing all the dirty work. I’m talking about Instagram, the ubiquitous network loved the world over that—finally, fully, this year—dealers and artists and collectors and multiplying hangers-on embraced to tell the tale that is the global art scene in 2014.

Which means, basically, everyone was busy curating their airtight personal brands, tweaking filters and lighting to get the most likes, beaming out to their followers snaps from fairs and biennials the world over. And that’s certainly irritating, if not a sign of the apocalypse, but I mean, this photo app thing has some upsides. We can’t be in Los Angeles and Paris and Athens and Istanbul and Brooklyn at the same time, so we look to Instagram to keep us posted. And the tide is rising: Whether it’s performance art in Basel made with selfies in mind, or a Jeff Koons retrospective that asks for snaps of our reflection in Balloon Dog, or a self-aware panel with the founder of the format in Miami, Instagram was king. Here’s the art world in 2014 according to Instagram.

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