New York Museums Are Swapping Their Art on Instagram

Today, New York art museums make selfies out of their collections using the hashtag #MuseumInstaSwap.

by Antwaun Sargent
03 February 2016, 5:05pm

Images via #MuseumInstaSwap

Last year, 10 London museums traded collections virtually by posting Instagrams from their collections. Today, the #MuseumInstaSwap movement comes to New York City. The 18 participating museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, Queens Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are sharing works from each others' collections to draw connections between each cultural institution's separate holdings.

“The swap we thought was great because it allows us to make connections between all these amazing institutions we have in the city,” says Kimberly Maul Green, Social Media Manager for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, who organised the New York City swap. “There are so many [museums and cultural institutions in New York City] and they all work with a range of different art, history, culture, and science.” She adds, “Being able to find a different perspective for looking at the exhibitions and collections is always a unique challenge for institutions and this kind of partnership allows us to do that in a fun way.”

#MuseumInstaSwap pairs institutions with very different missions. The Queens Museum, for instance, whose focus is borough-specific, is paired with the encyclopedic Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Studio Museum in Harlem, which shows contemporary black art, is paired with The Jewish Museum, whose charge is to exhibit contemporary Jewish artists.

To kick off the campaign, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, which highlights work by artists of African descent, shared Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I painting from the collection of the early 20th century German and Austrian art and design centered Neue Galerie. In return Neue Galerie shared a still from the film Inzilo about the South African bereavement tradition by artist Mohau Modisakeng.


Please join us tomorrow, February 2, for New York City's first ever #museuminstaswap, a day-long campaign wherein 18 major New York City-area institutions pair off to celebrate one another's collections and exhibitions. For this project, the Neue Galerie has partnered with the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, also known as MoCADA (@mocada_museum). MoCADA, located in the heart of Fort Greene and just a stone's throw from BAM and Barclay's Center, is the first museum of its kind in New York. Pictured here: a film still from "Inzilo" (2013), a short film by the artist Mohau Modisakeng about the South African bereavement tradition. #mocada #museuminstaswap #africanart #contemporaryart #fortgreene #nyc #mohaumodisakeng

A photo posted by neuegalerieny (@neuegalerieny) on

The digital swap showcases the participating collections in a way that draws diverse links between art history and the institutions that contextualise it. “I would really love to see the museum Instagram swap expand the reach of our collections,” Green tells The Creators Project. “A lot of museums are still working to get their collections digitised and their not necessarily accessible to everyone so having projects like this really allow us to help people  learn and be inspired by the art.”

To see more of the works shared, check out #MuseumInstaSwap.


Art Swap: What Happens When Museums Trade Their Collections?

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

Know Your Hashtag: It's #MuseumSelfie Day

the new museum
American Museum of Natural History
museum of modern art
Cooper Hewitt
The Frick Collection
The Museum of Arts and Design
Museum of the City of New York
Intrepid Museum
The Whitney Museum