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How Quitting Instagram Made Me Appreciate Art Again

Scott Indrisek: Artsy

My wife was happily squeezing herself into a cage, and there I stood, just watching, not even tempted to take a photograph and post it online (#brucenauman #momaps1 #doublesteelcagepiece #tightspot). We were at the Bruce Nauman retrospective at MoMA PS1, and I was on a temporary Instagram detox at the time, one that involved a vast amount of self-trickery. Rather than ditching the app entirely, I reasoned, why not just set some parameters? I’m an adult, after all. I’d limit myself, make each Instagram post a curated delectation. Restraining the habit to posting a single image a week, I ventured, would curb my worst impulses. (It’s the same way I’d initially tried, and failed, to quit smoking or drinking: Only five cigarettes a day! Just seven-and-a-half drinks a week!) In the meantime, I wouldn’t keep Instagram on my phone—I’d delete it and re-download it every five or six days, in order to be more mindful. The pointless hassle would change me, open up new ways of being.

This was already a big leap, since I’m the sort of person for whom Instagram-posting had become a tic, the photographic equivalent of logorrhea. By the time I quit, I had posted an astounding 14,479 images to Instagram over the years. On any given day there were so many things I felt desperately needed to be shared with the world: A glamour shot of my cat, Chloe Zola Volcano; a detail from the new Dana Schutz exhibition; a picture of a dirty mattress on the curb, pompously captioned as if it were itself an unsung piece of installation art. I had 6,241 followers, which wasn’t nothing. My brand was irreverence, see? I’d even started, begrudgingly, to dabble in Instagram Stories, mainly because I’d read somewhere that this type of “engagement” was the swiftest way to add new followers. …Read More

Pictured: Taking pictures of Lena Henke’s exhibition, “Germanic Artifacts,” at Bortolami in New York.

2019-02-11T07:40:52+00:00