Can the ART MARKET thrive in a sharing economy?

Among the most interesting articles read on the art market, the one in June’s The Art Newspaper stands out ; here,  Melanie Gerlis deals with the theme of the global economy in relation to the chance of art to prosper and sell.

Because art, in order to continue to create ideas, must sell. Ça va sans dire.

The first staple of his analysis is that the millenials do not seem to show the same gene as the previous generation in terms of collecting.

“Nobody wants to own anything anymore. It is about experiencing things, sharing them and being-in-the-moment. From the digital revolution, algorithms prevail over the physical world “.

The statement is not weightless. From a certain point of view, this is a wonderful thing that has helped to flourish crowdsourcing and re-use of material to produce new objects, for example. According to another, it is not good news: the art market relies on the cult of possession. A collector who does not want to own is not a collector.

This shift from ownership to a sort of shared economy, in which companies such as Uber and Airbnb work for example, is on the agenda of important issues for market leaders.

Will the art of the future be more an object of experience? Mark Spiegler, general manager of Art Basel, the most important and trendy fair in the world, says that we should not overestimate this trend of the times that also comes in the art market, but should certainly be taken into account.

There are some positive effects for the art in all this: if on the one hand the ‘fetishization’ of the “single piece” could be decreasing, the works in multiple editions, such as photography, prints and ceramics, are more and more popular and help to expand the attractiveness of the art market.

Furthermore, some Museums invite visitors to share the exhibited works on Instagram, which is once again a sign of democratization of the potential audience for the Arts.

Even the forms of Patronage are changing. If collectors have historically supported artists by acquiring their jobs in the primary market, they are now investing in production directly.

Sharing and supporting becomes more interesting than the acquisition or investment aimed at speculation, as Alain Servais, a member of FRIENDS OF LISTE, says, a brilliant program that reduced the expenses for the gallery exhibitions of the galleries of the Liste art fair of this year.

Art intermediaries are experimenting with ways of monetizing experiences (there are people who pay up to $ 50 a day for the experience of seeing dealers selling art in Basel during Art Basel).

The point is perhaps to try to quantify how exactly this macroeconomic change will change the art market. It’s a market niche and a handful of good buyers are enough to keep up appearances. 

Still, therefore, explains Spiegler, “the galleries and artists who can make buying and possessing art an experience, have a guaranteed natural future”. *

The  Jimi Hendrix’s phrase “have you been experienced?” belongs more than ever to the current niche of the economic-artistic universe

* in Fair Dailies, www.theartnewspaper.com

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