Be sure to read the entirety of Ben Davis’ examination of Instagram, art theory, and John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”.
Isn’t it striking that the most-typical and most-maligned genres of Instagram imagery happen to correspond to the primary genres of Western secular art? All that #foodporn is still-life; all those #selfies, self-portraits. All those vacation vistas are #landscape; art-historically speaking, #beachday pics evoke the hoariest cliché of middle-class leisure iconography. (As for the #nudes, I guess they are going on over on Snapchat.)
Why this (largely unintentional) echo? Because there is a sneaky continuity between the motivations behind such casual images and the power dynamics that not-so-secretly governed classic art.
“I wanted Pop-Up Magazine to happen at night. It’s a good time to get people out, bring people together. But also, so much media gets pushed at us during the work day, when it’s hard to pay much attention. At night, we’re not so distracted. We have higher standards. It’s a better time to enjoy great storytelling. Weekends appeal to me for the same reason. And I’ve been thinking a lot about where we live. California is a big, fascinating place. We share much in common with the wider West. We sit at the edge of Asia and Latin America. We’re in the middle of a million stories. I want to help bring you more of these stories. Made here in California.” — Doug McGray
I am looking forward to the beginning of this publication more than any other flimsy tech product launch this year. Imagine a sort of New Yorker for the West Coast.