Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Eric Wolf


In the following thesis, I would compare and contrast the two art world phenomenon:Ai Weiwei and KAWS, whom have very distinctive artistic focus and style. And how the two artists utilize their social media platform to achieve different purposes and reflect different values. In the past few years, due to internet accessibility to the art world, online and social media platforms have become an intermediary between the art world and the masses, giving everyone access to art. Being household names from the art world, both of the artists generated a large number of fans on their social media platform of Instagram. However, the two artist’s content display, communication methods and viewer’s feedback are completely different. For each artist, I would focus on the following three aspects: Market performance over the past decade, commercial impact through brands collaboration, and socio-political impact to analyze the root causes of different content presentations. Through the same platform: Instagram, both artists amplified their success by reaching a wider demographic and greater global social influence. Ai Weiwei further realized his socio-political values by drawing more attention and awareness for global crisis on a grander scale through the platform whereas KAWS promoted his artwork and collectibles to collectors and consumers worldwide.