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Response to Winnipeg Free Press Article: Would van Gogh Instagram?

Authored by: WAG Staff on September 4, 2013

Our Curator of Conemporary Art, Paul Butler's response to the Winnipeg Free Press article, Would van Gogh Instagram?:

Of course artists like van Gogh and da Vinci would use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if they were alive today! Artists are always looking for new ways to connect with their audiences and social media has proven itself to be the outreach tool of the century. People forget that nobody asks an artist to be an artist, so validation is essential to them - whether it be in the form of publicity, sales, exhibition, or the number of Facebook followers they have. With social media, you can actually count the number of people who are paying attention to what you are doing.

Can a virtual representation of an art work replace the actual experience of standing in front of one? No way! I'm going to switch over to the music world for an example here. If you had the choice between seeing Bob Dylan live, in his prime, or listening to a recording of that same performance, what would you choose? Concert ticket - $80, concert shirt - $25, the pride in being able to say "I was there!" - PRICELESS!! Standing in front of an actual artwork connects you with the artist and their work in a way that reproductions could never do. You're standing in front of a masterpiece that the artist laboured over for weeks. They spent countless hours standing in the same relation to the canvas that you are now standing in. Time and place slip away bringing you as close to that artist as possible. You feel their presence right there with you! Just thinking about it sends chills up my spine.

Paul Butler is an artist and the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Gallery

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