The art market is challenged...
Grooming my hard disk full of digital art and photos -stumbled on some 20 year old digital work. Scratching my head, 20 years back, digital art was already there, indeed! It made me think and reflect - the past, present and future of digital art.... and the art market.
'Digitalization' emerged as a trend in early 2000 in the IT departments of large corporates only. When the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched a digital transformation initiative in the early 2010, 'digitalization' emerged from the technologists to a wider economy. It took another nearly 10 year until COVID crisis pushed digitalization to the next level across the world - globalization reached nearly every household across the globe. The cosy art market, where collectors in rather exclusive groups of gallerist, curators and art lovers travelling the world and meet in exclusive events is simply not feasibly currently and as far as I see it. The art marked rather not started to absorb and innovate the business model.
The conventional art market challenged
No doubt, there will be a post pandemic world of art. Some institutions will remain nearly unchanged, but the pandemic crisis accelerated digitalization and innovation already. 'Disruptive change' has sustainably changed other industries and the art market will not be different. Many disruptive changes in other industries came in many examples not from the existing market players, but from outsiders entering the market. New market players have simply no risk to loose, they willing to cannibalize existing cash cows and the money they bring: Tesla challenging the old existing manufacturer of conventional cars, Neo Banks challenging the conventional banks...., the art market is not different, it's just a matter of time.
While the conventional art market has disregarded the trend on 'Digitalization', it also disregarded the trend on 'digital art'. Although back in the early 80's Andi Warhol's experimented on altering pictures from Debby Harry, Peter Gabriels produced artistic multi-media projects (Xplora 1) - it had very little impact on the art market, with few exceptions on artists walking between the two worlds. There is a link between the problem of disregarding the digital art market and the trend on Globalization.
The parallel art market on digital art
While disregarded by the conventional art market, digital artists gathered on internet platforms such as Devian.art or technologist's forums (reddit) - a parallel world of art has been there for a century. While some article may have been written in trend magazine (e.g. Wired) on digital art or net art, nearly none of the established art magazines or platforms tackled this trend. I have certainly read more about digital art and net art (e.g. virtual hijacks by etoy.com) in the business section of world re-owned newspapers than in their culture sections.
The digital art grown beyond a niche and emerges now tremendously fast as a fact: Who could believe art lover's buying purely virtual artworks consisting of 0 and 1 stored somewhere on a server - so called non-fungible token (Nifty)? Christie's sold a series of 12 images nifties: The art buyer pays the unbelievable $6.6 Mio to be registered as the owner of the artwork on a blockchain (the technology behind Crypto-Currency/Bitcoin) for those 12 pictures (Nifties) created by an artist called 'Beeple'. It seems absolutely not a realistic new business model in an art market. Hence protagonists in the conventional art market assume often it's simply a hype, they simply cannot believe an art collector buys a not physical art piece and spends tremendous amounts of dollars. Let's compare: The big music labels failed to move from phyiscal music records on compact disks. Instead of developing new business models, they invested the money on Rights-Protection-Technology, while apple launched iTunes. Today, 90% use iTunes and Spotify, whereof Spotify alone absorbes 10.8 billion dollar revenues from the music market only.
There might be an hype on Nifties, but Nifties will gonna stay and the business model will be further and over time impact the conventional art market sooner or later..
No doubt, conventional galleries and conventional are here to stay - but challenged. It will not be enough to react with some virtual events. It requires new digital concepts, formats and virtual art spaces, where gallerists, artist and collectors can meet and interact. The technology is out there, it's about endorsing the opportunities and innovating concepts. If the existing market player take it up, other players will do.
Finally, there is another change ongoing: The demographic shift - it's a generational shift: New digital nomads and Millenial's as art collectors asking for new innovative galleries and new art formats. Those picking up the the new concepts from virtual galleries and virtual art spaces promoting the new art forms wrapped in new platforms and new ways of promoting and selling. They have grown up with iTunee, hence they are used to pay for digital format already.
The art market is changing - act! - or someone else will do it for you.
Going back to my grooming of my hard disk. I finally found a work made back in 2001 called 'hidden feelings' - about being stuck in the moment. I recently endorsed some of my inner dilemmas and created 'Locked out from Life'. - a 3D printed artwork. The digital artwork dated 2001 emerged from 0 and 1 to a physical 3D printed sculpture after 20 years - digital art you can touch.
Ivo Meier, Switzerland
Authors website: http://www.digitised.art
About 3d printed Art: http://www.digitised.art/index.php/about/49-information
Net Art Group: http://www.etoy.com
Additional article: 3D printed sculpture
About the author
Ivo Meier has a proven track record in fiduciary and IT with a focus on financial management, process improvements and corporate culture. He worked for large corporations: Coopers & Lybrand, Swiss Reinsurance Company and Credit Suisse. He has wide set of technology, management and leadership skills acquired over more than 20 years in IT, leading cross-disciplined software development and expert teams, virtual communities and large globally federated IT teams (100+ members). Ivo has a talent to foster innovation and connecting the dots bringing people and skills together. His recent focus is on how to apply crowd technlogies on security and agile transformation in large international swiss bank. For more than 10 years, he is a conference board member of the Swiss Testing Day and initiator of the DevOps Fusion conference – the conference attracts yearly 800+ professionals in technology.
Since the age of 15 his secondary interest was visual arts and photography. Being a youngter in the 80 where the Commodore 64 and the 1st Personal Comptures emerged he endorsed on how ot combine classic photography and sculpture with technology - resulting in 3D printed art in the last 5 years. The network of art represents his work: Network of Art - Artist page
He is married with a psychotherapist for more than 25 years, which has given him an additional different view: Understand the human skills, traits and attitude as a core success factor and treat it as the differentiating factor for success.
Self Reflection: http://www.digitised.art/index.php/about/92-deep-change-comes-with-experience