Five Instagrams That Ask Interesting Questions About Art and Culture

Posted inFollow Friday

Art is captivating, but when visuals make me ask questions about the society we live in, that’s when I’m the most intrigued. As I was scrolling through Instagram this past week, I repeatedly saw different accounts post the same image of a hat made from pizza. As I followed my curiosity into the depths of Instagram’s squares, I eventually found the original source of the image, sculptor Brian Downey. And of course, discovering this account only led me deeper into my social media art escape, and before I knew it, it was three in the morning.

One of the most beautiful things about creativity is the many questions that surround art. I mean, what makes art, art? And why does society respond to specific pieces of creative expression, and turn them into a cultural moment? Plus, with the speed of the internet, broader audiences are discovering more art, and more quickly than ever before, so these cultural shifts happen at what feels like unnatural speeds.

Today, I’m investigating the seismic shift that is trending cultural and artistic moments by sharing five Instagram accounts that share these specific instances.

Brian Downey | @falconbowse

I’m far from the first person to admit that Instagram’s algorithm is annoying. If I had it my way, I’d see posts from just the people I follow and nothing more. Yet, as much as I would love to go back to the follow-only, chronological way of life that Instagram used to reflect, I’m thankful the redesign led me to the aforementioned Brian Downey. The artist’s Instagram feed only features hats, but not in the way that typically comes to mind. He makes them out of basically anything but fabric— think pizza, potatoes, and peas. They’re closer to sculptures than clothing, and often make jabs at society’s cravings, like the pizza hat riffing on the popularity of streetwear brand Supreme. While I wouldn’t want to eat all of the hats, they are drool-worthy sculptures that I’d love to see (or feel) in person.

Oshs Art Gallery | @oshsartgallery

Osh Media is a unique corner of the internet that fuses fashion and culture to dissect why specific trends happen. The media brand has quite a few spin-off Instagram accounts, including “Osh Auto,” “Osh Fits,” and, my favorite, “Oshs Art Gallery.” The gallery account highlights contemporary art in digital and physical spaces, and often asks the followers what their thoughts are on the work. Beyond the art itself, that resulting community connected to this account is what intrigues me most. Osh has used social media to facilitate a space on the internet where compelling art becomes the common ground to rethink our perspectives. Plus, all of the imagery they post is highly mesmerizing— one of my favorites being a realistic sculpture of a pillow that’s actually made from marble.

A Plastic Brain | @aplasticbrain

Culture and art often work in tandem, and the Instagram account A Plastic Brain perfectly exhibits how. Each post displays an image, whether it’s a road sign, historical portrait, or stop motion video, and the caption describes its cultural relevance. Take, for example, the image of the empty oval office. Depending on the year, this room’s cultural significance highlights a certain prestige in America. But when this room is empty, the eye focuses more on the architectural details, then starts to wonder what kind of secrets the walls hold. A Plastic Brain’s archive features hundreds of posts, so they have plenty of facts and obscure cultural references to learn and unpack.

Moosey | @mooseyart

Moosey is a contemporary art gallery with locations in London and Norwich that showcases exhibitions, artwork, and prints from contemporary artists around the world. The gallery strives to be inclusive to all types of artists, and focuses on finding new work to spotlight lesser-known, emerging artists. Moosey’s Instagram sets itself apart from other art galleries by showing its work close up, so followers can feel emerged in the space, no matter where they are. This account is perfect if you want to stay up to date on fresh, emerging artists in all kinds of contemporary art scenes.

IMPERMANENT | @imprmanent

Impermanent follows the theme of this week’s installment to a tee with a simple bio that reads “Exploration of Art & Culture.” While the visual format of Instagram puts a more immediate emphasis on the images, Impermanent’s captions also hold a lot of information and weight. In a world so consumed by images, I often feel like Instagram feeds that utilize a long-form caption are more engaging. But if you are more interested in pure eye candy, this account is full of gorgeous cultural moments, furniture design, fashion icons, and just plain iconic images.