G/IRLs Take Manhattan!
Rachel and I are really excited to be included in an excellent group show opening this Thursday called G/IRL: Girls in Real Life. “The exhibit brings together Flickr ‘phenoms,’ teen prodigies, and established photographers using social media sites like Flickr, Tumblr, and blogs to explore and establish a life in photography. G/IRL highlights the value – and pitfalls – of using social media tools to gain recognition, and juxtaposes the landscape of social media, a world in which we promote what we love, with the critical context of New York’s Chelsea art scene.” (via G/IRL)
Curated by Willamain McPhee Somma, Meagan Ziegler-Haynes and Ann Colville Somma, the exhibition includes work by Olivia Bee (Olivia Bolles), Pauline Beaudemont, Margaret Durow , Kava Gorna, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, Rachel Hulin, Lissy Elle (Lissy Laricchia), Sarah Palmer, Kate Steciw, Lauren Withrow, Emily Wilson and Lauren Ward. While diverse in their subject matter and approach to the medium, all of the artists included use social media not only as a means of self promotion but also as a platform for exhibition and discussion: some to spectacular results and others to their potential harm. In this way, G/IRL addresses the mercurial nature of social media in relation to art.
Take for instance, Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, who found fame on Flickr is and was eventually named the Web’s Most Popular Photographer by The Wall Street Journal (2006). Shortly thereafter, Rebekka discovered her images had been stolen from Flickr and sold on eBay under a fake name, garnering nearly $5,000 for the individuals who appropriated them. While her faith in social sharing remained intact and her Flickr galleries boast nearly 20 million views, she was never compensated.
On the other hand, take Olivia Bee (Olivia Bolles), and Lauren Withrow, who’ve found fame and (potential) fortune via social sharing sites. In this sense, The G/IRL show highlights social media as a means for talent discovery. “The desire to share what we’ve found and loved online is central to social media. We wanted to showcase our discoveries ‘in real life’ with a gallery show. We’re thrilled to give these photographers an opportunity to have their work received in a new critical context – the heart of New York’s art scene,” said curator Willamain McPhee Somma.
With the added bonus of a partnership with e-commerce gallery Art + Culture Editions, G/IRL will be accessible to the photographers’ online fans – and beyond via limited edition prints in multiple sizes. “Partnering with G/IRL lets us bridge the gap between online and off. Art + Culture Editions allows the work in G/IRL to be shared and purchased by audiences worldwide. The artwork is of such a high standard and is deeply tied to our mission of making art accessible, so we were more than happy to be involved,” said Chris Vroom, CEO of Art + Culture LLC. Prices are accessible, too: prints start at $400 for 20″ x 30” size (edition of 100).
G/IRL: Girls in Real Life opens this Thursday, October 28th, and runs through November 2nd with an opening reception on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at the G/IRL Pop-Up Gallery, 300 West 22nd St. at 8th Ave., New York, NY 10011 (tel. 646 438 9549).