The Art Business Today was one of the most heavily anticipated talks from a large selection at the London Art Fair 2018. The talk discussed everything from how the internet is changing the art market and the buying process, to the already infamous $450 million Leonardo Da Vinci. The talk consisted of 4 speakers, one of which was the host and chair of the hour-long discussion. We’ve broken their discussion down into two parts. Part 1 or our coverage focuses on digital disruptors in art.
Georgina Adam – Art Market Editor at the Art Newspaper and Art Market Contributor at Financial Times
Anna Beady – Deputy Art Market Editor at the Art Newspaper
Jeffrey Boloten – Course Leader of Art & Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art
Peter Osborne – Gallerist at Osborne Samuel
Are there digital disruptors in art similar to Uber in the transportation space?
Peter: There is a widely held theory that everyone is going to buy from JPEGs straight off the internet without learning about the background and the artist, but this is not the case in my experience. You buy an experience and relationship, a depth of knowledge, what the artist’s history is, etc.
The only people I can think of who would buy art as a meaningless object are speculative investors who usually always crash and burn. I violently object to people buying from a JPEG, its profoundly illogical and irrational. These fairs are all about engaging artists with people and establishing relationships.
Jeffery: All the online reports I read are saying that people engaging with auctions online are new to the art world. There is a trend towards hybrids – online and real world working together. 82% of people are put off purchasing artworks online as they can’t see it in person. The internet should be used as a means to an end, not the end itself. People who are purchasing entirely online is becoming a rising statistic, but nobody is going to buy a $10m Matisse online; they’re going to want to see it in person.
Anna: I am now probably more swayed as to what exhibitions I go to, based on what events are filling my Instagram feed, as I would be from reading a critic in a newspaper. I find myself starting to take recommendations from social media more and more often.
Are artists going their own way with Instagram etc. to try to promote their work or are they still using traditional outlets such as galleries?
This question was posed to Jeremy Gardener, a well-known artist who was a member in the audience.
Jeremy Gardener: I’m 60 years old. It’s been vital for me to build a relationship with my audience on social media and YouTube, alongside the gallery. I can share things with my audience that they don’t always get to see. Big artists are brands, so therefore I ask the question, how do middle/small galleries survive?
Anna: Some artists are incredibly sophisticated on social media, where they almost build a cult, they have more direct access without an intermediary of a gallery. It is almost like self-publishing.
Peter: Its becoming tougher and tougher for the galleries to survive. It’s very difficult for artists to find a gallery due to the lack of exhibitions, the increasing online trend and larger galleries dominating the art world.
Jeffery: Galleries are the validators, they connect the artist to institutions, museums and curators which is what builds a market and reputation. Maybe the validators aren’t museums any more and it’s the Kim Kardashians and other Internet icons that control the market.
Now that you’ve read the latest on digital disruptors in art, learn about the state of collecting in the art market by reading on to Part 2 of our coverage.