With 1 billion users and growing, it was perhaps inevitable that Instagram would shake up the art world. The social photo platform has been accused by the media of fanning a narcissistic selfie culture.

But in galleries, research is showing that the negative aspects are far outweighed by the positive. Instagram is changing the way we experience and share our visits to exhibitions, and how we perceive art.

In fact, arts institutions are now actively courting Instagram users. The Museum of Ice Cream in the US is considered one of the most Instagrammed exhibitions, with over 125,000 hashtagged posts.

The show included such Insta-friendly displays as giant cherries, suspended bananas, and a rainbow sprinkle pool, inviting the visitor into a colorful space of neatly guided photo opportunities.

Closer to home, the current Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria features several large, Insta-friendly installations. Visitors are invited to lie on Alexandra Kehayoglou’s carpet work, Santa Cruz River (which depicts a river in Argentina that is at the centre of a contentious damming proposal), and take their photo in a mirror on the ceiling.

Artist Yayoi Kusama, also at the Triennial, uses light, space, color and patterns and attracts a strong Instagram fanbase to her exhibitions.

Kusama’s obliteration room, currently being exhibited in Queensland, is another popular, Instagrammed experience, which invites visitors to stick colorful dots all over a white room. A similar work at the NGV covers the interior of a house with flowers. Read more