10 tips for tech art collectors


You, The Last Supper (Bitcoin).
Photo: via CoinDesk.

Are you a new tech millionaire with money to burn and an urge to start an art collection?

If so, you’re the unicorn all American art dealers hope to take for a ride.

Otherwise, why would mega-galleries like Gagosian, Pace and David Zwirner be heading to the Seattle Art Fair this summer? They’re looking to spawn with you, precious unicorn, and if you want to get by everywhere from cabins to back rooms, here’s what you need to know.

1. Go to art fairs.
It’s kind of obvious, but it’s true: there really isn’t a better way to see industry-approved artwork all in one place. Think of it as a starter kit for collecting art. Here are some tips for beginners.

A bird's eye view of Art Basel.  Photo: Mitchell Zachs

A bird’s eye view of Art Basel.
Photo: Mitchell Zachs

2. Consider hiring an art consultant.
If you have an eye for what you love but don’t know much about the market, or understand the numbers but don’t have the art historical background you think you need to make a smart purchase, so consider contacting an art advisor. They can tell you what you need to know, show you around fairs and make recommendations tailored to your tastes.

3. Don’t just focus on tech-themed art.
We understood. There’s a temptation to go with what you know, and when dealers find out you’re in the tech business, they’ll likely try to push something on you in hopes of an easy sale. But new media art, cool as it is, isn’t the most stable market. And if you’re thinking of branching out into the art world, why not go all the way and discover a new love for, say, minimalist sculpture, black and white photography, or mixed media works involving candle wax ?

4. Don’t assume everyone (or anyone) takes bitcoin.
The art world tends to be a bit slower to embrace this stuff. Better to stick with plastic or just cash.

Still from Tom Sachs, A spatial program at SXSW.

5. Keep your eyes open to see art in unexpected places.
Going to art fairs and galleries is a safe bet, but there are also plenty of dealers willing to meet you closer to home. For example, this year’s interactive South by Southwest festival saw a number of art-related businesses and institutions, from LACMA’s panel on art and technology to artist Tom Sachs in conversation with Artsy CEO Carter Cleveland, which coincided with the opening of Sachs’ “Boombox.” Retrospective” at Contemporary Austin.

6. Shop online.
Speaking of art selling startups, there are a ton of them. If you don’t have the time or energy to peruse a fair, check out Amazon Art, Sotheby’s Live Auctions on Ebay, our own artnet auctions, or one of the other platforms that allow you to buy works of art in one click. a mouse.

7. Consider building a corporate collection.
Your art collection doesn’t have to start and end with your private residence. Many companies, from the Fortune 500 to start-ups, are investing in art. It brightens up the office, gives back to the community, and there’s even tax relief involved. What’s not to like?

Inside the UBS Art Collection.  Photo: Whitney Museum of American Art.

Inside the UBS Art Collection.
Photo: Whitney Museum of American Art.

8. Don’t expect the art world to work like Wall Street.
Don’t expect to be able to track the value of a work of art like you can with one of your tech stocks. Unlike the stock market, where the price of a share is perceptible on a given day, the value of a work of art can fluctuate enormously depending on a number of factors: recent exhibitions in a museum or gallery, opinion criticism, auction price, demand from a buyer and even from an artist. simply fall in favor or out of favor in the art world.

9. Don’t think it will be easy to get the best works.
Are the dealers thirsty for new blood? Certainly. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to let their guard down. There are a myriad of rituals that wouldn’t fly in any other industry but are taken for granted at art sales, especially if you’re working with top-notch galleries or in-demand artists. For example: two-for-one art sales. (And no, that doesn’t mean two for the price of one, we’re afraid.)

10. Don’t be a pinball.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to make a profit, but few people want to build a reputation for pinball art in the vein of Stefan Simchowitz, David Martinez, or Bert Kreuk. Buying art, often from emerging artists, then reselling it quickly and at a hefty profit margin might seem like a great business model, but once you start getting blacklisted by galleries, the stencil is in square.

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