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♥ Like: A BOFFO Instagram Project

Brad Troemel

Oct 6

Brad Troemel is an artist based in Brooklyn. Recent solo exhibitions include LIVE/WORK, Tomorrow Gallery, New York (Opening October 12), FREEDOM LIGHTS OUR WORLD (FLOW), Zach Feuer Gallery, New York (2014), Customs, Still House, Brooklyn (2014), and The Edwards Copy, 1796–2014, Future Gallery, Berlin (2014). Peer Pressure, a volume of Troemel's writings—subtitled "Essays on the Internet by an Artist on the Internet"—was published by LINK Editions in 2011 and is available for free PDF download online.

Brad Troemel’s work engages the social life of images on the Internet. Through his work with Jogging (a collaborative tumblr project Troemel started in 2009) and his individual practice, Troemel surveys and manipulates the reception of art images as they move outside of art contexts. This potential democratization of art and audience is of particular interest to Troemel as he asks “At what point do artists using social media stop making art for the idealized art world audience they want and start embracing the new audience they have?” The circulation of images on Instagram functions largely through metrics of “likes” and mentions—user handles posted in comment fields in order to alert other users to posts of interest. Mentions leave a trail of user response, documenting the relative popularity of an image. Instagram’s sharing functionality stems from response mechanisms that privilege nomination over appropriation (individual call-outs over re-blogging), making it less accommodating to viral spread than other platforms.

For ♥ Like: A BOFFO Instagram Project, Troemel explores the form and aesthetics of images that gain significant online traction, seeking to demarcate the outer limit of this spread on Instagram. Combining topical images and meme aesthetics with collisions of left- and right-wing political sentiment, Troemel’s images provoke but do not operate along a straightforward trajectory of comprehension; misunderstanding is part of the plan.