James Tarmy tries to answer the great question of our time: why don’t the tech rich buy art like their counter-parts in finance? Tarmy’s Bloomberg story has a variety of answers to the question. One is simply that tech folks are too young and too busy to focus on art.
Another is that they’re more interested in the art and the ideas behind the art than they are in the market for the art:
CEOs of tech companies “definitely buy, but they do it discreetly—they’re not doing it the way that oftentimes New Yorkers do,” she said, pointing to Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn as examples of under-the-radar collectors. “It’s different even from the L.A. collecting community, which can be more trend-based, and a little bit more showy.” The Krieger collection, for example, primarily comprises conceptual and process-based works and includes photography by contemporary artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans and Sara VanDerBeek.
Old-line tech has its collectors like Marc Andreessen and his wife but some suggest the invention of the sharing economy may obviate Silicon Valley’s interest in actually owning art:
[Ruchi] Sanghvi, the [former Facebook] engineer, said outsiders need to remember that the tech sector continuously deemphasizes ownership of anything, let alone million-dollar artworks. “Today, people aren’t inclined toward buying a home or car or owning things,” she said. “And there have been markets that have been developed to facilitate things that are communal—like Uber or Airbnb.” If you don’t own your house, in other words, you probably won’t spend tons of money to decorate it. “Most of the material things that we’ve traditionally invested in are no longer relevant for this generation,” she said.