Brave New Art World: Part 2

For a community whose currency is imagination, I was surprised I didn’t get a bit more sci fi in the comments last week.

Personally, I can’t imagine anything more exciting than peeking into the future of technology and the visual fine arts. When you look at what’s happened so far, it seems as if the next generation of adventurers and explorers will only be limited by whatever keeps them from expanding the boundaries of imagination.

The other surprise I had last week was when I dropped a big hint that no one took me up on.

From Brave New Art World: Part 1:

I watch iTunes and Pandora bring music to the masses and long for a **visual art venue that would do the same.

I confess to a wee bit of shenanigans here, because… 

I actually did know about the new “Pandora” for visual artists. And since it’s been online since 2010, I was sure someone would call me on it.

Enter: Art.sy

Launched September 2010.

Well, not exactly launched. More like a first step, where you could sign up for updates on: “The Arts Genome Project will make the arts searchable. So you can find whatever you’re looking for. Any artist. Any arts organization. Any performance, exhibition, event.”

Only thing is this page says something completely different from their press release of 2010, “ARTSY DEVELOPS THE ART GENOME PROJECT TO HELP COLLECTORS DISCOVER FINE ART.”

The press release, and the website Art.sy itself, is about creating a Pandora-like website for visual fine art. How cool is that?

After looking at the line-up below, the gap between The Arts Genome Project web page and their press release seems a bit startling (or am I expecting too much?).

From their press release

Art.sy—which is led by Carter Cleveland, a Computer Science Engineer from Princeton University, and Sebastian Cwilich, a former Christie’s executive who launched and co-directed the Christie’s private sales business—aims to leverage The Art Genome Project to become the largest online database of original fine art.

Art.sy’s art world advisors include Barrett White, Director of Haunch of Venison Gallery; Cristin Tierney, Principal at Cristin Tierney Fine Art Advisory Services; and David Cleveland, art historian and independent curator. Additional advisors include Joe Kennedy, CEO of Pandora, and Tom Nicholson, CEO of IconNicholson.

Art.sy expects more leading gallery partners to join throughout the fall, in anticipation of its full public launch in March 2011.

 

So, no question there are heavy hitters behind this.

My question for you is…

Visionary technology all well and good, but how do you see this way of presenting art as helping you, the artist?

What could Art.sy do that might help you more?

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Next week, look for a clever use of television for visual artists that uses current technology to literally “hook up” the online and offline worlds.

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14 Responses to “Brave New Art World: Part 2”

  1. Since most of the technology you discussed is aimed on displaying, marketing and selling art on the Web, versus in a gallery or Art Fair, I am assuming your want to know how artists feel this will help them.

    My feeling: No more than any other venue.
    The Positive: Millions of prospects to view the artist’s work
    The Negative; Artists will have less control and influence.

    I have worked in computers since the mid 1960’s and I have painted all along to get away from computers. I have seen the galleries strive for web business and some succeeded. I have not seen any advantage for artists. The same old politics of the art world still dominate the Web. If you are IN, its good. And if your not, Your Not. This leaves the old fashioned person to person for artists to show their creations.

    And if you are talking about Technology helping to Create Art, that is a lot more political. I will just stick to painting and enjoying life in the simplicity of old fashioned brush on canvas, Thank you.

  2. After reading my response, it was a little more negative than I actually meant. I forgot to metion how I feel that Art.sy could help us artists.

    I think promoting the purchase of Original Art versus reproductions to art lovers would be great. I really don’t understand why non-sophisticated art collectors think that spending $2,000 on a Giclee by a well known artist is a better investment than purchasing an equally good original painting from a lesser known artist for the same or less money. I understand the Business side. I don’t understand the Collectors side. I think the educating of the public will help to promote original art purchases. This will help both the Artists and galleries. This would be a great contribution by Art.sy.

    • Hi Don,
      I understand the urge to characterize the online world and the offline world, the business side and the making art side, as opposing realities. Our brains are hard wired to create dichotomies as a survival strategy.

      However, since we are more than our brains, we have the ability to explore beyond the either/or scenario. Whether or not our internal filters allow us to have the grace for this is another question.

      Every thing you say is true. …and, I encourage walking around to see if another view is possible, one where what appears to be opposing realities are in fact more aligned that it seems at first glance. That perhaps, in the realm of infinite possibilities, there is room for it all.

      …just a thought…

  3. Ariane,
    Ok, what are the 800 “genes” of a piece – I think that is simply an amazing concept.

    However, it looks to me as if it is a new concept for the gatekeepers to promote their art, so the heavy hitters. A filter to be used to educate the public as to what “good art” is. Making it a little upscale for my taste.

    I have asked for an “invite” so we’ll see what it is they have to offer artists outside Christie’s Auction House, Haunch of Venison Gallery and MOMA. I suppose it’s got to start somewhere. – Interesting that when I told them I was not a collector – they wanted me to sign up 5 people to get access. Very gatekeeper-ish behavior.

    I know this may be a little on the negative side for me than usual – but I don’t like the gatekeeper mentality traditionally used for art – it is unhealthy bias and usually keeps women out of the “great art” arena.

    • Yes, Michelle, you’ve hit on something that has always been close to my heart (and right now is getting ready to become a more visible part of my work than ever before…stay tuned, you intuitively aligned being…) that the “…gatekeeper mentality traditionally used for art – is an unhealthy bias keeping women out of the ‘great art’ arena.”

  4. Yoram Gil says:

    Hello Ariane,
    This is a voice from the not so distant past- Yoram Gil.
    As you know I am in complete agreement with your view. Neither Art.sy nor VIP, ArtSpace and all the others that jumped in the fray- none care about artists or collectors or for that matter about relationship. Also none wish to work hard (as we did at our galleries) to make their sales. They all want the buyers to do the work and send his money in with as little personal or personable contact as possible. Rather amazing but not surprising. Doesn’t that remind you of the famous NY galleries elitist attitude of snubbing visitors especially ones not dressed up “properly”? It is all about promoting “investing” and turning art into “hot commodity”. not unlike too many other aspects of life which via the internet have lost touch with us the real people. The heart doesn’t matter online- does it?
    With all the twits, face books and the pintersts of the world everyone is made to believe they are “connected” so advertisers can bombard them with whatever. In reality everyone is isolated, detached and hiding behind the web shield pretending to be connected without having to commit to anything for it
    My venture/vision which is being tested live as we speak is all about it – bringing back the simple human relationships that are the core of the good old way of the art business. The personal touch and trust between the art dealer/gallery owner and his clients and artists- this is what matters to me.
    Maybe here is the time and the place for you to review and discuss my visionary/ pioneering project that has in its core the care, the personal relationship, the face to face interacting , the building of trust we used to have at the gallery now online. How about removing the anonymity that the internet allowed and just do business the good old way with innovative (and patent pending) innovative a online tools. Anyone can explore it from the web address below though we are making major changes/improvements which soon will be implemented
    As we haven’t communicated for a while maybe you’d wish to re interview me to find out where things are.
    Six years in the making and now it arrives with too many big-shot players claiming big claims and delivering very little unless it benefits them- as you said gatekeepers. I feel lost in the shuffle with no budget and no celebrity status. I also like good art and artists regardless of their fame which again makes me an oddball.
    What I offer is all about benefiting everyone participating- a win win situation giving chance to all, artists, dealers and clients.
    So there is some good coming out in the open from visionary technology and concepts and you can find out more about it if you’d like.
    I hope this note finds you well as I am using this platform to respond having received no response to my e mails. I know you are very busy and I am glad you opened the door with this discussion. Tell the world about the good stuff I am offering.
    Fondly as ever,
    Yours, Yoram

    • Oh, Yoram – I am truly honored to have you jump in on this conversation. It’s been too long since we connected.

      I don’t know where your emails have been landing, but definitely not in my inbox as I haven’t seen a single one for, what – two years now??

      I have your number, so I’ll give you a call because what you were creating 6 years ago, at that time, you know I thought it was brilliant and innovative and I’d love to give it a voice here.

      There is much that you write here that rings true for me too. There is also a tendency for a jaded slant to creep in that, no matter how logically justified someone can make a claim for it, simply falls away from where I’m standing as irrelevant for anything more than a simple tactical response (if possible). Giving it any more attention and watering it, as far as I have experienced, takes energy and time away from working on the good stuff.

    • Yoram, I can’t wait to see what you are developing – and I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is the connection that sells the art.

      I started a website focused on the regional artists in Kansas – it’s been very rewarding giving them access to expand their market through prints, the internet,
      Facebook connections. Although I started it just last April, it has surprised me how the artists and regional collectors (many new who have never collected before) have responded to it. I think the secret is the whole connection ticket – knowing the artist and then being able to afford to support them on a limited budget. We can only hope that the young collectors go on to buy originals. At this point it seems to be a win, win, win for everyone from artist to patron. If you are curious, http://www.artprintexpress.com

      Also, I agree that without that personal connection art becomes a fad commodity for the fast buck and as I see it, it ends up making the art loose its humanity – which is actually the whole point of art… sad.

  5. Pia says:

    Hello Ariane
    I took a look at the site and from the little info there I conclude that it will not offer much more than currently operating virtual galleries. I feel that personal networking by the artist is still the best way to build an ever-widening circle of people that love and value your art. As you are always emphasizing, this means building and maintaining ongoing relationships with other artists, prospective buyers, people who have already purchased your work, and with gallery owners that feature your work. I find that sites like FB and Twitter are tools for enhancing and helping maintain these relationships. Any virtual site of the future in order to be of help to an artist would be one that focusses relationship building, rather than building another essentially anonymous “marketplace”.

    • I like your distinction between relationship building with sales as the outcome and the “anonymous marketplace.”

      However, I’m not so sure that Art.sy isn’t part of relationship building by creating a collector centric place that can introduce collectors to artists they might have never considered in the first place.

  6. Ah, two of my favorite art industry experts know one another, Yoram and Ariane – of course!

    Indeed, the internet is a powerful and ever-useful tool, and as it matures we are afforded new ways to bring back the intimacy of connection, but in the ‘brave new world’ that brings art into the lives of us all, not just the collector, and not just serving the sensationalized artists who must shock and awe to get media attention.

    I’d like to urge us not to despair about the lack of relationship, the gate keepers, or any virtual fences we feel exist in the present day. It is these new conversations we are having now (due to the internet) that bring us more transparency, more creative exposure and more opportunity to choose what it is we genuinely desire.

    I personally believe Art.sy and some of the other online art sites exist to feed the old (rich white male) paradigm / machine, but there are other sites that are philanthropic or have the vantage of the seasoned artist, the arts administrator or young collector, and some that will revolutionize the way we look at art.

    Thanks for the (always) interesting conversation, Ariane!

  7. Yoram Gil says:

    How much fun- Suzanna is her too- what a small world- hi Suzanna!

    Why don’t you tell everyone what a nice thing you are doing for the art and artists up in the bay are but I guess not limited to only local artists. I think it should be made known as its core is yet another good doer and here is a good place to tell individual artists all about it. It is a great forum and what Suzanna does is certainly part of the brave new world of innovation and creativity. Will you pls. tell them my dear.
    So here we go there are the over stated and over funded elitist who offer commodity to invest in, warehouse and resale at a profit or a loss and there these humbler guys who really love art and try to share their love with their audience. So as in every other place there are the good and the bad and the in between guys all over the map. It is up to us to stick with the good guys (if we can find them:-))

    • Ah, Yoram, you’re spoiling my secret… I’m well aware of Suzanna’s work and it will be appearing here soon!!

      As for “good” and “bad,” one without the other would leave us without contrast. There is nothing like the sense of health and well being after being sick, yes?

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