There's no doubt social media plays an important role in the careers of contemporary artists. But galleries are as vital as ever, providing essential guidance, career development and support for professional artists.

There are few things Instagram hasn’t upended. From the release strategy for new films to the casting of runway models, the app has displaced many of the systems once key to commercial and critical success. More and more emerging artists are using the platform to disseminate their work, connect directly with their audience and build public profiles as a result. But despite this recent disintermediation, art galleries are vital as ever.

Instagram is a phenomenal tool for sharing, but the technology behind it amplifies what it already knows you like. In contrast, great art is often boundary-pushing and defies easy categorization. The people behind art galleries (of any size) learn about emerging artists by building relationships, relying on years of experience and trusted colleagues to come across new talent and build a market for their work. And that human touch is especially important for artists who choose not to partake in social media at all (there are some great ones who don’t). A great gallery helps build a career in so many ways, including (and most importantly) by introducing museum curators to an artist’s work so they can be shown in public institutions.

Once a partnership is forged, art galleries function as incubators and support systems for emerging and established artists. Galleries are also where artworks are shown for the first time, which is essential since, ultimately, visual art is something you experience in a physical space. Galleries also help artists manage the business end of their careers–a pitfall-laden part of the job that many artists are unfamiliar with when they start out. Much the way literary agents can help shape a writer's trajectory, pairing them with editors and publishers, by entrusting the gallery with management, artists have more freedom to focus on their creative lives.

If you'd like to learn more about the individual galleries representing the artists featured on Platform, they are listed on our gallery page.