“I gave a lecture once where someone in the audience seriously asked, ‘is it true that you have to use at least five hashtags per Instagram post?,'" JiaJia Fei, the Guggenheim's associate director of digital marketing, told me recently.
The answer to that query is “no," but the fact that it stood out as a burning question shows that hashtags—which themselves have only been around since 2007, when they were invented by Chris Messina, a former Google employee—have become an important part of the way that art circulates via platforms like Twitter and Instagram, just as they have become a vital tool in politics, activism, and many other fields.
Major public art projects come pre-branded with hashtags (think Creative Time's #karawalkerdomino), and most big art events spawn their own (thus #whibi becomes the place where people share their gripes about theWhitney Biennial).
When it comes to tapping into conversations that escape a specific event, however, you quickly run into problems of clutter: because everyone on Twitter who has ever put a brush to canvas tags their painting #painting, it's not that useful. There are, however, a number of hashtags that are useful for keeping track of different key conversation in contemporary art, magic passwords that are more granular than #art but less specific than #JennyHolzerAtHauserAndWirthSomerset.
Below are 11 worth checking in on.
The go-to tag for people who care about art as a vehicle of learning, and all the debates accompanying this important subject.
#artselfie / #museumselfie / #museumselfieday
Credit for coining #ArtSelfie goes to sharp art critic Brian Droitcoir. Its power has been undeniable—though you could overstate it: 23,000-plus Instagram mentions is impressive by art standards, but fairly modest in Internet terms (the feline-themed #catselfie has racked up 300,000-plus usages). Outreach and audience development departments, however, are betting on the power of the #ArtSelfie and its near cousin,#MuseumSelfie, to lure young people: #MuseumSelfieDay is set to returnnext year.