Social Media, Creativity and Promotion

January 4, 2010 by

Traditional studio art education clearly defines artistic success. Creative efforts are considered validated by achieving gallery representation, receiving critical review and exhibiting artwork in traditional venues such as brick and mortar museums and galleries. But how relevant are these goals for most artists today?

These elusive goals have been challenged fundamentally by social media and the Internet. I wish to discuss how social media can be used by artists to promote and distribute their work as well as the converse shift in power this represents. Social media can provide an alternative to these traditional goals, but can it also replace them? How will we define artistic success is the 21st century?

5 Responses to Social Media, Creativity and Promotion

  1. Faith Van Horne on January 5, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    This is especially interesting to me as a writer. I would like to address the musical and written arts in this context. Jonathan Coulton, anyone?

  2. Amanda Sikarskie on January 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Social media is not only changing notions of artistic success, but also notions of who is–or can be–considered an artist. Looking forward to your session!

  3. Liz Murphy Thomas on January 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Faith, thanks for the comment. Yes I definitely intend this to be broader than just the visual arts to include musical, written and possibly even performing arts. I think music, as you’ve mentioned, is where a lot of interesting things are occurring. Jonathan Coulton is a great example!

  4. laura mandell on January 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Liz: I just helped Susan Schreibman conduct a workshop at MLA called Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion. We had a wonderfully creative example, a poet’s digital performance art, and the evaluators were completely at sea. Dene Grigar promises that the ELO is formulating guidelines for this. But it strikes me that one problem is simple distrust of our own capacity to recognize art as art: in the absence of traditional kinds of evaluation, what do you do?

  5. Boone Gorges on January 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    What a cool topic. I took a graduate course in philosophical aesthetics in which we discussed the idea that artistic merit is fundamentally linked to a particular community or “art world”, such that what it means to be (good) art is simply to be accepted as such by a certain group of individuals. You seem to be suggesting that the audience for art is changing because of social media, and the analog would be that the “art world” that determines the validity of a piece of art might be changing as well.

    On a related note, questions of artistic success and merit seem almost allegorical for the academic enterprise in general. What constitutes academic success is not necessarily an internal feature of the academic work itself, but is instead a complex relation between the work and the “academic world”. I wonder if the world of studio art just happens to be a bit further down the road toward accepting the broader digital world as part of the artmaking process than the academic world is to accepting a broad academia-making process. Thus maybe there’s something that 21st-century academics can learn from 21-century studio artists’ attempts to redefine and reshape success in their field.

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