I don’t know about you, but I have this gnawing feeling that the time is ripe to make something new and exciting happen in the art world. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I’m convinced that fairs, galleries, auction houses, even museums are changing the way they do business and that the art world we know now will be almost unrecognizable in 20 years’ time. So what will this new art world look like?
Twenty years ago Chelsea was home chiefly to taxi garages. Now it claims one of the highest concentrations of blue-chip galleries in the world, with many boasting overseas branches. That gives you an idea of just how fast things change and how linked the world has become. The same thing will happen with the current gallery status quo: Dealers in vogue today will be gone tomorrow, and others will rise up and take their place. I am less interested in that cycle than in those individuals making new things happen.
Auction houses, too, are changing their strategies. Art+Auction has printed several stories exploring this subject. The major houses are moving more into private sales and, smartly, leveraging their powerful global brands online. Meantime, Web sales platforms for art are proliferating. Few are making money, but there is an entrepreneurial and even messianic belief in the eventual development of a wildly successful venture in this area.
What is abundantly clear to me is the personalized nature of the online experience. The digital economy is all about individual customization, with companies striving to create a direct relationship with their clients. But what is not clear to me is how much of this online marketing in the art world is about better servicing existing clients as opposed to winning more clients for the products. Clearly it’s a bit of both.
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