This story is over 5 years old.


Empty Met: Capturing the ‘Through the Looking Glass’ Exhibition on Instagram

When museums get on social media...

The usually packed Metropolitan Museum of Art cleared out last week to give Instagrammers an opportunity to photograph The Costume Institute exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, without distraction. “We hosted an #emptymet Instameet to give influencers a chance to see and shoot the record-breaking exhibition during its final weeks,” explains Taylor Newby, the Senior Social Media Manager at the Met. “The exhibition is the most Instagrammed exhibition in the Museum’s history with over 39,000 Instagrams tagged with the #ChinaLookingGlass hashtag. We thought an Instameet would be a great way to bring the exhibition to an even wider audience.”


The record-breaking exhibition has had over 600,000 people visit the museum to see China’s influence on Western fashion. The show is a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art and juxtaposes couture from designers like Ralph Lauren and John Galliano with Chinese costumes from the Qing dynasty, paintings of Mao Zedong, and 15th century porcelains that date back to the Ming dynasty, alongside films like Daughter of the Dragon, which reflect upon the connections between the East and the West.

“I launched the #emptymet tours in March 2013 as a way to help promote the @metmuseum Instagram account when it was first launched,” explains Newby. “One of the main goals of the tours has always been to make the Met accessible to a younger, more diverse audience. I worked with many people within the Instagram community to bring in photographers from all over the globe so they could share images of the Met with their followers.” The Instagram art meetups have proven to draw new types of visitors to the museum and this particular one included the likes of JiaJia Fei, Mark Rosen, Landon Nordeman, and Lucas Lefler.