The promise of data’s revolutionary power within the art market has reached a religious pitch. One has only to survey the analytic prognostication in something like the UBS Art Basel Art Market Report, a catechetical tome published annually reporting numbers, percentages and sale figures for industry insiders looking to justify their beliefs.
Meanwhile, many online sales platforms and databases are busy penning the catechism for the laypeople, issuing user-friendly “intelligence” reports, listicles and explainer articles to “demystify” the marketplace with a missionary zeal. At the core of these missives is a seeming schism. On the one hand there is the traditional density and elitism of the art world, and on the other, a new democratic ideal based on shared knowledge and decentralised authority.
Author: Margaret Carrigan