Intelligence Squared Annual Cultural Debate in Hong Kong
“SOCIAL MEDIA IS KILLING ART”
Social media is like fast food – rapidly consumed for instant gratification. No wonder social media demeans art. Artworks that instantly seduce online become tedious when contemplated over time in the flesh. Once art goes viral, it gains traction, particularly in the market, and becomes wrongly acclaimed. Museums may be keen to reach new audiences, but can great masterpieces really be appreciated on the miniature canvas of your mobile phone screen? Shrink art and you shrink its power – only a philistine would believe they've experienced an artwork without examining the deeper ideas, the painter’s brushstrokes or the sculptor’s fingerprints.
What stuffy nonsense, say digital art fans. Attacking social media is like attacking photography in the 19th century. The internet is the medium of the age. To ignore it is to turn your back on the future. For existing masterpieces, social media is the universal key to the world’s museums and galleries. No longer are works hidden away in dusty storage rooms in another country. Commercially, the online art market is estimated to have grown to $3.27 billion in 2016. At last, art has become truly democratic, open to all to view and buy.