If @whitneymuseum Follows You, Are You an Artist?

This year, the Whitney Museum holds its first Biennial in its downtown space, and perhaps more noticeable than the ingenious Renzo Piano building—designed with the art-going experience in mind, its footprint runs east to west with floor-to-ceiling windows inviting in light, shapely but open floor plans, commissaries—is the reenergized mission given our times: showcase American art.

The mandate might’ve felt stuck in the past, as the Guggenheim and Modern and Met rushed toward the excitement of different eras. Nationalism seemed a restrictive business plan, but here we are, in a year when the MoMA responded to Trump’s immigration ban by replacing works by Matisse, Picasso and Picabia among others with works by seven artists from the majority-Muslim nations named in the E.O. All the works were quietly hung by the gallery’s curators overnight, without a single tweet or Instagram post from the Museum to promote the change.

You could argue the Whitney’s been on that beat since day one, asking us what it means to be American. With our National Endowment for the Arts under attack, it’s a more important question than ever. All of which is to say: shouldn’t we be thinking critically about, well, everything?

So here’s a small but meaningful (maybe?) thing to consider: who the Whitney follows on Instagram. Is it an indicator of who has a seat at their conversational table? Is it friends of The Whitney’s Sarah Meller who runs the account and who joined the museum as a research assistant seven years ago? One thing we know: as the museum’s geared up for its Biennial over the last month, that list hasn’t really changed.

#whitneybiennial #armoryweek #museumpeople #artworldspaces #instaart #publicart #instamuseum #artwatchers_united

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Andrew Kuo, a New York artist, is known and collected—lucratively—for his graphs and charts that shed light into his young life. Earl Boykins, his alter ego, is known and followed for his love of cute animals, “whats…happening here” moments like a massive motorcycle tucked into a hotel bed, and weird plants. He visited the museum’s Carmen Herrera works in January.

Job: Artist

Followers: 174k


One of the great photojournalists of the last decade is Pete Souza, the official White House photographer who gifted us with an incredible and unprecedented glimpse into a presidential administration. His personal Instagram from that time—@petesouza44, numbered for his President—is archived, just as @obamawhitehouse is a timecapsule, too.

Job: Archive of the Obama Administration

Followers: 3.6m

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The Whitney’s watching how the Internet, and instant commerce, forges a new conversation around art. Willa Köerner, whose Instagram bio reminds us, wonderfully, of 2004-era AOL Instant Messenger profiles (💎 ➖🔸▫️♦️🌾 art/writing/internet ♦🌗🔘🔹🔺➖ 〰〰〰 director of curation @kickstarter 〰〰〰 ) makes decisions on what, according to the crowdfunding platform, is art.

Job: Kickstarter’s Director of Curation

Followers: 2,362


Three days ago, the Met’s Director and CEO resigned reportedly under pressure from the board, following a slacking financial record despite all-time-high attendance. He’ll stay in his role until June of this year, says the NYT. To contextualize the news, we suggest reading his recent op-ed about the challenges the National Endowment for the Arts is facing. But don’t forget the comments section, where the conversation between opposing views really takes shape.

Job: Former Director and CEO of @metmuseum

Followers: 34k

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Author, critic, writer, essayist, thought guide—Hilton Als mostly calls The New Yorker home, but our favorite words of his recently are on the walls at David Zwirner. He’s curated the gallery’s show of Alice Neel, a New York artist celebrated for celebrating Harlem, most specifically its mixed section called Spanish Harlem. His writing is so inviting, so fun, so human, that even if his sentimental essays weren’t on the walls, it would stand out all the more in the gallery world where any writing is usually just a stack of press releases.

Job: Critic

Followers: 12.8k


Job: Museum Shop in Manhattan

Followers: 36k


Job: Gallery and alt-art space in Chelsea

Followers: 36k


Job: Gallery Family in UK

Followers: 138k


Job: Museum in Atlanta

Followers: 60k


Job: Gallery in Brooklyn

Followers: 1,116


Job: Morning News Show

Followers: 82k


Job: Drawing Museum

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Job: Museum on Lower East Side

Followers: 9,872


Job: Interior Design Enthusiast

Followers: 16k


Job: Non-profit

Followers: 11k


Job: Architecture Publication

Followers: 1,150,992


Job: Museum and Sculpture Garden

Followers: 33,842


Job: Restaurants at the Whitney

Followers: 9,645


Job: Director of MoMA PS1 & Chief Curator at Large

Followers: 218358


Job: Executive Vice President Fitz and Co

Followers: 8,423


Job: Time Magazine

Followers: 3,553,079


Job: Not for Profit Arts Center

Followers: 27,942


Job: Architecture Publication

Followers: 1,505,372


Job: Museum

Followers: 8,501


Job: Artist

Followers: 65k


Job: Wall Street Journal Newspaper

Followers: 782,955


Job: Anonymous Museum Visitor

Followers: 6,930


Job: Artist

Followers: 7,371


Job: NYC Mansion Housing Western Fine Art Collection

Followers: 121,626


Job: Public Art Fund

Followers: 70,063


Job: Brooklyn Academy of Music

Followers: 65,440


Job: Architect in Brooklyn

Followers: 49,875


Job: Bushwick-based Freelance Multimedia Producer

Followers: 1,870


Job: Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA

Followers: 36,112


Job: The Shop, selling products that celebrate The Broad’s architecture + collection

Followers: 314


Job: Curator, Whitney Biennial 2017

Followers: 7,656


Job: Museum Professional

Followers: 1,168


Job: Whitney Museum Guard

Followers: 458


Job: The Museum of Contemporary Art, LA

Followers: 271k


Job: ‎Community Team, Art and Fashion Lead at Instagram

Followers: 38,543


Job: Center for Video, Music, Dance, Performance, Film and Literature

Followers: 19,822


Job: MoMa PS1

Followers: 330,739


Job: The Guggenheim Museum Balbao

Followers: 140,359


Job: Photographic Cooperative

Followers: 1,788,519


Job: Nasher Sculpture Center

Followers: 21,018


Job: Artist

Followers: 1,410


Job: The Official White House Instagram

Followers: 3.5m


Job: Museum of Arts & Design

Followers: 42,767


Job: The New York Times

Followers: 2,226,797


A playful one-of-a-kind artifact—keychains of the Whitney’s trash colorfully cast in resin by critic-favorite Brooklyn artists Chen Chen and Kai Williams.