The world of art collecting is being transformed by apps like Artland, Artsy, and Magnus, as well as websites like Paddle8. These resources bring the hobby of art collecting to people who cannot frequent gallery shows and art auctions, leveling the playing field among collectors. While these options broaden the pool of potential buyers, they have been met with resistance from those heavily involved in the art scene.
Each technological option operates in its own way. Artland, for instance, charges galleries a monthly subscription fee to list pieces on their service, through which both aspiring and seasoned collectors offer bids for individual pieces. Artsy focuses on educating novice collectors on the practice of art collection, and, like Artland, offers galleries a monthly subscription to show their pieces. Magnus serves as an aid to those attending shows and auctions, allowing the collector to capture a picture of the piece in question with their phone and run it through a database that estimates its potential value based on the artist’s other works. Paddle8 operates as an online auction house that has recently stepped into the future by collaborating with The Native to orchestrate auctions accepting bitcoin.
Each forum is designed to bring art to the masses, but current collectors hesitate to accept them. Many are concerned with robbing art collection of its exclusivity and mystique. By having prices available, the art world runs the risk of becoming an open market instead of an invitation only world, bringing prices down. Conversely, supporters of these apps praise them for their openness and demand even more transparency; only one third of the pieces listed on Artsy include prices, which is a staunch difference between Paddle8, which makes it a point to be upfront about monetary details.
Despite conflicting views, apps like Artland are poised to launch the world of art collecting into the future. Forbes quotes CEO Mattis Curth, “Until now, the art world has been small. Lowering barriers to entry will lead to a bigger market.” Without these barriers that the pioneers in art collecting’s digital age intend to complete their mission: to bring the art world out of its selective community and into the light, where any art lover has the power to view and purchase collections they otherwise would not have seen.