We are in a time where new digital and social developments are striking awe and promising revolution in the art world: Amazon’s entry into this traditional domain is provocative, offering buyers the choice of art by local artists for $10 alongside Norman Rockwell’s $4.85 million painting. The Rijksmuseum allows its audience to tag and describe paintings online and the Guggenheim conducts a Biennial of creative video called ‘YouTube Play,’ inviting amateurs to participate, resulting in thousands of user-generated popular videos penetrating the walls of high culture. India-based Saffronart permits mobile phone bidding and online auctions for fine art, defying the finely honed rules of powerhouses such as Sotheby’s and Christies. Further, the rise of seemingly unprecedented immersive art initiatives like Google Art Project, art.sy to artnet, promises (and threatens) to radically transform how art information and art sales will be executed in the near future.
Picture retrieved from: http://davidkessel.deviantart.com
For years now, we have been looking into these new trends and have through numerous speaking engagements, publications and workshops, tackled these exciting propositions. With these ongoing efforts, we wish to go beyond the media hype and offer a more critical insight into the new cultural commons. We are fascinated by how to define what is good art as art taste appears to shift dramatically with the rise of emerging markets such as China and India and thereby, a potentially new art consumer base. We ask what is happening to art critics and curators in an age where online review systems appear more powerful than any one single expert. We question the celebration of a global art market as art and artists take on much more localized forms. We ask whether online ventures, from search engines to virtual auction houses and museums, are transforming the long existing modus operandi of the art world and essential the structure of the art market. Will the art world, which thrives on exclusivity, prestige premiums and the aura of artworks fully embrace internet’s democratic potential, and at what cost? Whether or not the internet is truly a game changer in the art world, we assert that new platforms of interaction on art – for learning, entertainment or commerce – are undoubtedly reconstituting the way art is being viewed, valorized, acquired and enjoyed.