Friday 14th August 2015The End of the Auction House?
It's a classic staple of the art world: numerous collectors and their factors gathering for a special event, an event in which millions of dollars worth of art changes hands, with a tidy profit for the organizers - the auction house. In a modern jet-setting world, it hardly seems difficult to imagine that the ultra-rich and their spokespeople are willing to fly around the globe in order to be at these events in person. Yet as the world moves at a faster and faster pace, sometimes it seems that the luxury of an in-person visit is often out of the question, despite what the record-setting auction sales numbers might tell you at first glance. Not only that, but the truly global nature of modern art collecting means that collectors are no longer concentrated in the West, with easy access to New York and London, not to mention the numbers of collectors who can't - or won't - afford to fly around the world just to make a few bucks.
Enter the online auction. Ever since a struggling little startup named eBay shook the ecommerce world to its very foundations, online auctions have grown in popularity, and it was only a matter of time before some new tech startup would come along and attempt to revolutionize the world of the art auction. Sotheby's, one of the premier auction houses in the physical world, has partnered with online auction specialists eBay and tech company Invaluable to change the way art auctions are conducted - and they're finally getting some traction. It's been a struggle to gain a foothold in a market so entrenched in the physical world, but with sales and bid prices going up nearly 35% since 2014, it's possible that the tipping point has finally been reached.
Speaking to Artnews online magazine in an interview, Rob Weisberg, the CEO of Invaluable, explained: "People like you and me have probably spent the greater portion of our lives connected and able to transact online and via mobile devices. You may not have the time or the inclination to read through an auction’s 200-page, color-coded paper catalogue; instead, you’d prefer a personalized communication that filters the merchandise and can show you items you actually might want to buy. And these are things you can buy with the click of a button while sitting in the comfort of your own home."
While it's not like to be the end of the major players in the auction world, perhaps the very term 'auction house' will cease to mean what it once did!
Posted on August 14th 2015 on 02:31pm
Wednesday 06th August 2014Because 'Art', That's Why!
Many people, both artists and non-artists, fall into one of the following categories: those who love modern art, those who are confused by modern art, and those who are confused by modern art but pretend to play along so that other people won't think they 'just don't get it'. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell which category you fall into, and it's possible to transition fairly rapidly between groups, especially when artists seem consistently trying to one-up each other with even more bizarre and conceptually ridiculous projects. It should perhaps come as no surprise, then, that 4chan, those internet superheroes/villains (depending on who you ask, and which day it is), has recently played a vital role in what has to be one of the most ridiculous art sales of all time. Assuming, of course, that the whole thing isn't a hoax.
A 4chan member took a bad digital photograph of a computer screen displaying a post from the 4chan message board, and subsequently sold that photograph on eBay for almost $100,000. Yes, you read that right. Titled, 'Artwork by Anonymous' (anonymous being the appellation given to users of the message board who refuse to provide any other name), the piece sold for $90,900 USD on August 1st, 2014. The seller, named xhacker02, has been a member of eBay since 2007, and has generally positive feedback, and the person who bought the artwork appears not to have retracted the bid. As a sideline of the eBay system, however, it is possible that if the buyer and seller discuss the matter and for whatever reason - say, if this whole thing was a joke/hoax - decide not to go ahead with the transaction, we the lowly viewer will never know that the sale never actually happened. As if that wasn't enough, now there is a similarly styled post entitled Artwork of Artwork By Anonymous, although that has yet to receive any bids.
Does it really matter if the sale happened, however?It's important to realize that much of conceptual artwork happens within us the viewer, rather than that which is projected by the 'artist'. In that case, literally anything is art if it causes us to reflect on the world and our role in it, the role of other actors and objects and life, the universe and everything. Kudos, 4chan. Welcome to the art world.
Posted on August 06th 2014 on 05:53pm