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The Sound of Gates Crashing

Post #1695 • May 14, 2014, 12:22 PM • 2 Comments

Much of what I predicted and recommended in Disintermediation Manifesto, Part 2: Disintermediate Sales is coming to pass before our very eyes. Success stories of artists reaching out directly to their audiences continue to roll in. Vanessa Thorpe, Artworks for sale online: it's a booming way to gatecrash the elite gallery world:

The visual arts are booming online.

This is the claim of a growing number of virtual art galleries, backed this spring by an annual survey of the fine art market. The survey shows the value of the online trade is now around £1.57bn and is likely to more than double by 2018. Experienced art collectors and newcomers are both increasingly using websites to find original contemporary works and ordering them for delivery like furniture. There is no need to go to a gallery or deal with frosty gallery owners. Instead, art can be viewed, paid for and returned if it does not match expectation.

"We have reached a tipping point," said Osman Khan, co-founder of New York-based Paddle8 online auction site. "People feel more comfortable with the experience of buying expensive things online." ...

[Rebbecca Wilson of Saatchi Art and Joshua Blackburn of Artful] both agree that the transformation is not only broadening the art market geographically, it is creating a new path for artists. "When I was last in London I had an artist crying with joy because he had given up his last part-time job to concentrate on his art," said Wilson. "We are giving new artists the chance to earn a living. Some can even earn up to £100,000 a year."

"It is really exciting for the artists," said Blackburn. "Twenty years ago they simply could not sell anything. Now they have a route to the market that bypasses all that."

Olivia Fleming, Why the World's Most Talked-About New Art Dealer Is Instagram:

The social media platform is not only launching the career of under-the-radar artists, it is providing the world with an entirely new way to access art. Where artists once had to first get support of the art world elite—critics, galleries and big name collectors, which would eventually lead to museum shows—before reaching the monied masses, today artists use Instagram as their own virtual art gallery, playing both dealer and curator while their fans become critics and collectors, witnessing the creative process in real time.

“I can post a painting and it will sell before the paint is dry,” explained artist Ashley Longshore, whose glossy crystal-covered canvases are regularly bought straight off her Instagram feed for upwards of $30,000. ...

Now able to sell works themselves, artists are nudging the dealer out of the way while promising to demystify fine art and increase accessibility; challenging what has long been seen as an industry shrouded in pretense and exclusivity. “Like many technology disruptions, it levels the playing field,” says Kenneth Schlenker, the CEO and cofounder of Gertrude.co, a recently launched online platform where New Yorkers can sign up for modern-day art salons that bring collectors and the curious together to learn about, discuss and buy contemporary art in informal settings. “It used to be impossible for an artist to reach a massive audience directly,” he said, adding that “what is happening to art is comparable to what happened to music: The cards have been reshuffled.”

I'm a late adopter of Instagram. While I approve of the disintermediation, I did not become an artist so I could manage four different social media accounts. But if doing so means I get to paint more, it beats having yet another side job for the same purpose. Besides, my Instagram account now posts to my Twitter feed, which in turn posts to my Facebook page, so here I am. Behold my cat picture. Art pictures to come.

Hat tip: J. Rebecca Trueblood.

Comment

1.

Warren Craghead

May 14, 2014, 4:45 PM

I’m interested in how your idea fits with Patreon.

2.

Franklin

May 15, 2014, 8:03 PM

Well, I think. It's just another digital payment system with a certain set of desirable strings attached, if you want to look at it that way. Patreon is talking about incorporating bitcoin at some point in the future. The possibilities are opening up beyond all previous conceptions.

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