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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Blogs and the Art Market

Sarah raises an interesting question at Forward Retreat about the blogosphere’s impact on the art market. Here’s my take.

The blogosphere currently has no influence on the market for non-contemporary work. Value and price are relatively known quantities in these markets already, and the information provided by bloggers can’t and won’t do much to influence demand or price.

Blogs will, though, become more and more important for creating a market demand for emerging artists and for solidifying the market for recently emerged artists.

The search engines that index blogs are key here because so few people (relatively) read art blogs. I know that more and more lately when I Google an artist whose work is new to me I find links to blog posts—often with images. More often than not when I’m trying to find out more about a new artist, Google leads me to either bloggy or jameswagner.com. Bloggers like Barry Hoggard and James Wagner are market influencers who will have an increasingly important hand in creating and enhancing demand for young, emerging artists’ works.

How much influence blogs will have on the market for work by more established contemporary artists is hard to say, but I doubt they will have much. Once artists are well known, more institutionalized influencers (critics, dealers, and curators affiliated with art and mainstream media publications, galleries, and museums) disseminate the information and bestow the credibility required to push market demand and prices to higher levels.

But maybe that’s not a totally accurate statement. I found out this week that this piece of misinformation is currently the 19th item returned in a Google search for Maurizio Cattelan. If Glade starts getting calls asking when Cattelan’s Labor Day candle will be available in supermarkets, I’ll have to rethink the previous paragraph.

Related: Google, not always so good at value judgments.

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