The 3 Biggest Problems in the Art World
The art world is poised for a revolution, it just doesn’t know it. Social media and streaming services have completely changed the art landscape, but they haven’t adequately solved its biggest problems. When building a new company you need to also build it for the future. It seems really counterproductive to build the infrastructure to serve a system only to be immediately outdated by the time you start picking up speed. This makes me wonder, what’s over the horizon in the art world? What problems have yet to be solved?
Creativity is not profitable. It challenges the status quo, the vested interests, and sometimes our own sense of self. It’s hard to put a value on it and it’s difficult to do justice to the products online. There’s a visual and tactile feel to buying art that doesn’t lend itself to online sales, especially when you’re a new artist. Art needs to be approached the same way companies approach research and development: throw a bunch of money into a bunch of ideas and see what takes. This risk is just much higher.
This has historical precedent. During the renaissance, when art flourished, artists had patrons. A stable salary that gave them the freedom to produce. And sometimes it didn’t work out. But when it did…
The second is exposure. Obviously, Instagram and other social media sites have made the possibility of exposure much more accessible, but the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. Having a vernissage or a gallery exhibition is still useful to generate buzz but to get a wide audience you need an online presence. The new movers and shakers of the art world? Online curators. It’s just a numbers game, even if one gallery is super exclusive and has a reputation as a tastemaker, the absolute number of eyeballs will always be higher online. Online curation is still not at the level where it needs to be to get emerging artists the exposure and business they need.
Curation on Instagram is a great tool but it’s not a solution. Lowercase is on Instagram. We’re not great at it, I’m not sure we’re even good at it. But we’re there. We’re also lost in a mountain of content and it’s our job to stand out. That doesn’t mean it’s an artist’s job. It’s difficult to stand out and it’s even more difficult to convert those views into a commercial success. We need to link the new methods of exposure to the business model.
The final problem is the network itself. One of the reasons, Florence was a great center of art was that it was a great center of art. Sounds circular but the proximity of artists to one another engenders collaboration and breeds creativity. Again, the online space has made this more likely to happen but it’s a mess. There’s a ton of shit out there and finding the person or the piece that is going to change the way you think about and produce art is infinitesimally small. Facebook or LinkedIn for artists doesn’t exist, and if it did, I’m not even sure what it would look like, but that’s part of the problem isn’t it?
These problems have been around since art was a thing, but how we address them at each stage is what determines how much artists will flourish. These are the things we’re thinking about as we build this company, hopefully we’ll create some solutions.