It may be one of the oldest auction houses in the world, but don’t let its establishment date fool you — Sotheby’s is absolutely a company of the 21st century, and is now partnering with start-up Artsy to host an online-only auction for contemporary art with a twist. Slated for late October, the auction will primarily highlight artists who use technology in some manner in their creative process. Whether this means that their art is focused on a technological theme or actually uses a digital medium is entirely up to the creator, as painting, sculpture, video and photography will all be included in the sale.
A press release issued in connection with the auction notes that the collaboration will “focus exclusively on artworks responding to popular culture and daily life in a digital age. The timely theme of the creation and the sharing of images and information through digital platforms is a modern phenomenon that defines our everyday experiences.”
Sotheby’s and Artsy are certainly capitalizing on the fact that they’ve each seen considerable success in the online marketplace for art. Indeed Artsy, which was founded just six years ago in 2009, is now an integral part of a booming online art scene that includes other likeminded, creative startups like Kollecto and Arthena.
“Sotheby’s is passionate about innovation, leveraging data and technology, and experimenting with new platforms and ways of growing our business,” noted David Goodman, Sotheby’s executive vice president of digital development and marketing. “We are excited to work together with like-minded leaders in this space, such as Artsy, using the intersection of art and technology to engage new audiences around the love of collecting.”
All works for auction will be valued at $50,000 or less, making their purchase accessible to a wider audience than may normally be reached by such sales. And with the inclusion of a number of emerging and yet-unknown artists, this joint auction is certainly bringing the art industry out of its white-glove past and into its digital future.
“Artsy is building a comprehensive resource for our users to learn about and collect art, and an ecosystem that expands the global reach of our gallery, museum, and international art fair partners,” said Sebastian Cwilich, Artsy’s President and COO, in his own related statement. “Bringing leading auction houses onto Artsy is a natural extension of our platform, and we’re very honored to partner with Sotheby’s, a 270-year-old brand and one of the world’s top art businesses that like Artsy is also committed to innovation and making art accessible to a wide audience.”
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