Then and Now - Art in the Digital Age

Joanne Artman Gallery
Apr 5, 2018 10:15PM

Brooke Shaden,Fragile (Detail),Photo on Velvet Fine Art Paper, (edition ½), 42 x 42 inches

With the ever expanding scope of new opportunities afforded by new technology in terms of the art marketplace, it is hard to remember a time before online exhibitions and auctions were accepted as standard practice. Though the art world used to be known as notoriously slow when it comes to adapting to anything new, it seems that it is certainly keeping pace now. Through countless new ventures, technologies, and platforms, it’s hard to recognize the current scope of the artworld from the brick and mortar spaces that solely defined the landscape at the end of the 20th century. For the defining gallerists of this era, such as Sidney Janis or Pierre Matisse, the gallery served as an important meeting ground for critics, artists and collectors, where careers could be made and lasting, impactful relationships forged. Such connections are still taking place, though they are no longer restricted to the physical domain.

Brooke Shaden
Fragile, 2016
Joanne Artman Gallery

One of the biggest changes in the past thirty years has been the shift towards a democratization of the playing field, especially for new collectors. The internet brought staggering changes to the art world, creating a global, connected art market, as well as access to more information, resulting in numerous niche specialties, and for the art market, a greater diversity in speculation and trends. Social media has revolutionized the way artists can communicate and engage about their work, with some, like Brooke Shaden, gaining a cult following. Though many collectors will still travel to attend art fairs to learn of new galleries and artists, there is much prior research that happens as almost everything can be found and seen online. A major contribution was the development of Artsy’s Art Genome project that sought to revolutionize the digital landscape by creating the “Pandora” of the online art market. The endeavor aimed to establish an inter-connected gene pool for art by utilizing various “genes”, through which users (newcomers and art world aficionados alike) could discover new artists they might not otherwise have encountered. Though the ultimate success of the project is still yet to be seen, the project itself brought even more attention to the online market, spurring more galleries to publish their content online.

All of these online tools, as well as the bevy of incoming, experimental ones (such as the proposed experimental use of blockchain technology for authentication and verification of art), have shaped the conversations around how we see and collect art. Though the landscape has certainly changed, new technology has in many ways also brought galleries, artists and collectors closer together. Although the process of learning about and acquiring art has changed, nothing can replace seeing a work in real life, and there is an irreplaceable value to human connection.

Brooke Shaden is represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery  New York  ||  Laguna Beach

511 A West 22nd St, New York NY 10011  ||  326 North Coast HWY, Laguna Beach CA 92651  ||  949-510-5481

Joanne Artman Gallery