In this post-analog world, a few Brooklyn gallery owners are taking it next level—by busting out some serious Instagram game. From a few hundred followers to actually being Instagram-famous, they’re on top of uploading images from their daily lives (and not just your typical gallery-show-coming-up-photos): sneak peeks of their own works-in-progress, selfies with friends (and cats and celebrities), artistic arrangements of weird objects, pristine landscape portraits, and, of course, the witty memes. One thing their accounts all have in common? Hardly any food porn.
1. Dustin Yellin: Dustin Yellin is Archmage-level when it comes to Instagram. Not only does he ‘gram professional-level photos of his internationally renowned works-in-progress (or the finished pieces), Yellin has recently snapped rhinos and giraffes at close range; posted shots of a Kris Kringle look-alike drawing water from a stream, nude; and has been inside a building where the ceiling is entirely made of living vines. Even @SocalityBarbie can’t beat that.
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook
2. sek3: It looks like sek3 does art better than you—partly because he looks like a nonchalant genius doing it: There’s the canvas laid bare, and then there’s a video upload of a magnificent painting being done in 3 to 15 seconds. With a series of colorful and definitely passionate works under his belt, sek3 recently did a collaboration with @metametagasm that gave a typically flat medium an extra (human) dimension.
Succulent Studios, 67 West Street #522, Greenpoint
3. Lucien Zayan: Lucien Zayan runs his Instagram account like a European: minimalist, with a focus on geometric lines and unostentatious travel. There’s shots of a gentle construction crane free-floating against a purple-violet sky, a trip to Berlin if you look closely, and a subtle love of nature throughout. Zayan is authentic without even trying—a skill that people are now paying Instagram consultants to learn.
The Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen Street, Boerum Hill
4. Tara McPherson: Tara McPherson makes screen prints that are out of this world, doubles as a fish-whisperer, and has achieved the bucket-list “tipping-the-Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa photo” before you did. When in Rome recently, she created a mural for a “Spray for Your Rights” activist campaign and then went to nearby gallery to snap a photo of her new painting. Checkmate.
Cotton Candy Machine, 235 S 1st Street, Williamsburg (co-owner with Sean Leonard)
5. James E. Bartlett: As the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, James E. Bartlett admits that he’s “curating” his life via Instagram—and, oh, what a life it is: fancy balls, concerts with The Roots, and flights to see a pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people… plus, casual stops in London, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam, and Seville. Bartlett is always dressed to the nines (and does not appear to own a t-shirt)—so the odds are high that you’ll never see him post a schlumpy “just rolled out of bed” selfie.
MoCADA, 80 Hanson Place, Fort Greene
6. Leeza Meksin: Do you want to see what’s going on in the Brooklyn art scene? Look no further: Leeza Meksin doesn’t do selfies—her account is mostly sneak peaks of her own work; images from her studio visits with other artists; and highlights of her treks to other local galleries (plus the standard “upcoming-show at-Ortega” shots). While not exactly the most FOMO-inducing account, Meksin still probably has more followers than you.
Ortega y Gasset Projects, 363 3rd Avenue, Gowanus (one of ten artists who runs the collective)
7. Kyle Clairmont Jacques: If you’re jonesing to follow an account that is part social commentary, part parody, Kyle Clairmont Jacques is your man. He’s recently ordered a “Best Grillz” product from Bling Cartel, Inc., uploaded images at midnight taken from a junkyard, and posted about items that you never realized you needed in life—like Crocband Grateful Dead clogs. His filtering of real life brings out the absurdity, but in doses small enough so that you don’t get depressed.
Signal Gallery, 260 Johnson Avenue, Bushwick (one of three co-founders)
8. Tomer Aluf: What should one post on Instagram, exactly? Tomer Aluf doesn’t seem sure, so we get a little bit of everything: a selfie with a (post-fight?) black-eye, screencaps of televised Syrian refugees with Angela Merkel signs, and queries about picking Chanterlles (plus, lots and lots of art). It’s not easy to find your Instagram voice in front of more than a thousand friends and strangers, but Tomer is resiliently chugging along.
Soloway, 348 S 4th Street, Williamsburg (one of four co-owners)
9. Rachel Nelson: If you’ve never been to the Secret Project Robot space, you can go virtually via Rachel Nelson’s Instagram account. She posts almost daily, behind-the-scenes images from SPR’s shows and gatherings: Bushwig, Tie-Dye parties, Dinner Theater Summer Stage—well, you get the picture. When she’s not at work, Nelson is at post-work, making sure that construction on the tavern and gallery get done by early October. She rests by swimming in waterfalls. #GoTeamRobot
Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose Street, Bushwick (co-owner with Erik Zajeceskowski)
10. Nyssa Frank: Nyssa Frank eats, sleeps, and breathes art—which seems to make her Instagram account a work of art in itself. Not only does she exist in the pockets of Brooklyn that are vibrant and full of color, but she’s also absolutely mastered the selfie, bringing a high level of intensity to almost every image. If you’re going to go hard or go home, remember that Nyssa Frank only goes hard.
The Living Gallery, 1094 Broadway, Bushwick