A brief mention on technology site, businessinsider.com, has caused a torrent of commentary and interest in Art.sy, the yet-to-be-launched art filtering technology that is meant to be Pandora (the music customization service) for the art world. What got everyone’s attention was the list of supposed backers. ArtInfo.com hurried to get a statement from Carter Cleveland, the 24-year-old behind the idea:
In an exclusive statement provided to ARTINFO, Cleveland, the Art.sy founder and CEO, says the site’s chief breakthrough resides in harnessing Pandora’s template — which creates ongoing playlists based on users’ personal tastes, allowing them to buy the music online — to sell art. “I think this fusion of leaders from the arts, technology, media, and business is a recognition of the great opportunity that exists in Art.sy’s art genome technology,” he said. “This technology can expand the art market by providing greater access to existing and potential collectors, while simultaneously helping galleries and dealers to better understand their needs and tastes.”
Gallerists were vocal yesterday about it too. One dealer contacted AMM to underscore that they did not see Art.sy as disruptive of dealing but an opportunity to connect collectors to artworks through more galleries.
We have a more practical question about the service. Collaborative filters are highly dependent upon frequent use. If the listener doesn’t rate music in their Pandora stream, the service cannot fine-tune the affinities. Art.sy would seem to have the same problem.
- Are users going to sit in front of a stream of images and give Rorschach-like feedback until the filter begins to yield meaningful responses?
- Isn’t there a fundamental difference between admiring, engaging or even liking a work of art and buying one?
- Will Art.sy function more like Foursquare where users “check-in” in front of works that pique their interest so the service will be able to know more about one’s taste?
- Will art fairs become elaborate check-in games as patrons compete to have broader and deeper networks the way Facebook and Twitter have created competitions to have more friends and followers than one’s peers?
- How will art purists react to smartphone wielding museum goers rating paintings that are not part of the art market but clearly set value?
- On the dealer side, will Art.sy become the camel’s nose under the tent and erode the dealer’s knowledge of their clients and the market by taking that information and embedding it inside the service?
In time, we will surely have answers to all of these questions.