How Tech is Changing Art

Artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual & augmented reality — how are these innovative technologies disrupting the art world’s sales model?

Innovations in technology are expanding access to the art world, increasing the speed of sales, and fundamentally changing how businesses operate in the art industry. Technology has changed the way art is bought and sold at three key steps of a sale, from how art is displayed, to how it is paid for, and finally how ownership is exchanged through new art business models. While technology increases the efficiency of the market, it also threatens to financialize, and commodify art, thus diluting artworks’ intrinsic value. Institutions and art professionals must clearly define how these technologies are implemented and governed to address this concern.

Technologies such as the Internet, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and artificial intelligence are all changing how art is sold. The sale of art can be simplified to three steps: the finding or showing of a piece, a bidding auction or request to purchase where currency is exchanged, and finally an exchange of ownership for the work. This, of course, is an oversimplification of an expansive market that has unique features namely authentication, provenance, and anonymity. However, even at this superficial level, we can see how technology is changing the sale of art.

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