Meme-Maker Jerry Gogosian’s Exhibition Is No Joke

Meme-Maker Jerry Gogosian’s Exhibition Is No Joke

The online selling exhibition “Jerry Gogosian’s Suggested Followers: How the Algorithm Is Always Right” features work curated by one of the art world’s most infamous commentators — with a little help from the Instagram algorithm.
The online selling exhibition “Jerry Gogosian’s Suggested Followers: How the Algorithm Is Always Right” features work curated by one of the art world’s most infamous commentators — with a little help from the Instagram algorithm.

T his September, Sotheby’s presents Jerry Gogosian’s Suggested Followers, a curated marketplace offering bringing together artworks by rising artists, available for immediate acquisition. Led by today’s omnipresent algorithm-driven world, Jerry’s selections guided by Instagram recommendations highlight a group of fresh works representing the art of today. Read more about this exciting project below from the words of @jerrygogosian.

Sotheby’s Chairman Caroline Lang teaching @jerrygogosian how to take telephone bids during Art Basel.

Who is Jerry Gogosian, the art world’s most famous Instagram avatar? Where did it originate?

@jerrygogosian, b. 2018, lives and works on the internet. Infamously known for their inflated ego with a massive sense of entitlement, he seeks to graduate into the realm of commodification by leveraging their internet fame and Instagram Explore page to organize a sale at Sotheby’s.

@jerrygogosian came alive on the internet as his creator, artist Hilde Lynn Helphenstein, was healing from a life-threatening disease that landed her in bed for almost a year. What could have been a very sad story turned into the tale of an artist finding a way to make art and bring joy back into her life. The fact that @jerrygogosian brings joy to many others in the art world was pure serendipity.

“Jerry’s jokes are pointed at everyone involved in the art-world circus because we can all admit it is absurd, amusing and poetic.”
— Hilde Lynn Helphenstein

Who follows Jerry? Why do you think you have such a large following?

Everyone from mega-dealers, auctioneers, galleries, art collectors and gallerinas follows @jerrygogosian. Jerry’s jokes are pointed at everyone involved in the art-world circus because we can all admit it is absurd, amusing and poetic. Once you fall in love with art, you can’t ever go back, but you can laugh at farce on occasion. 111K art lovers seem to agree.

Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Sotheby’s?

@jerrygogosian loves auction houses, live auctions and the astronomical, record-breaking numbers art can fetch. Auction season is better than the Super Bowl or the NBA playoffs, etc. @jerrygogosian was incredibly honored when such a historic and iconic driver of the contemporary art market asked them to help organize a sale. Naturally, to touch the hem of greatness was enough for Jerry to say yes.

Images courtesy of @jerrygogosian
“There is no collecting art without social media anymore.”
— Hilde Lynn Helphenstein

When asked what @jerrygogosian would want to curate, it was clear the premise of the sale must come from inside Instagram. Given that Jerry’s best friends were found on Instagram, along with dozens of artists they adore via their Explore page, the concept of “Suggested Followers: How the Algorithm Is Always Right” was born. Think about how most people find art these days. It’s usually through Instagram: finding you like one artist and then suggesting you eight others in a similar vein. The further you go, the larger the web of artists becomes, and suddenly you’re intimately aware of their practice.

Image courtesy of @jerrygogosian

How have social media platforms changed how we view, engage with and collect art?

There is no collecting art without social media anymore, unless you do not know how to use an iPhone or just leave everything up to an art advisor (who definitely uses Instagram and probably follows me).

What are some of the emerging themes and dialogues you see in the art world at this moment?

This is what I see: Gone are the days of academia and wordy press releases. Galleries are picking up artists they find on Instagram and market-testing them in group shows. If they do well, they bring them to a major art fair. If they do well there, they get a solo show and likely representation. Non-resale clauses are being enforced, but once they end at about three years, you usually see these works showing up at auction. This used to be seen as negative. Now it is becoming viewed as very positive as it raises the artist’s prices on the primary market.

Highlights

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