Has art lost its aura? How reintermediation and decoupling have changed the rules of the art game: The case of artvisor

Chiara Piancatelli, Marta Massi, Paul Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The changing role of digital technology is reflected in the increasing use of e-commerce. Due to the evolution of mobile technologies, digital platforms are changing business-to-consumer activities in many sectors. This study examines how digital technology is changing the way that contemporary art is sold and consumed. The authors examine the reaction of artists and art galleries to the digitalization process through the case of Artvisor. As a novel institutional entrepreneur, this company offers a disintermediated art experience based on conformity with the rules of the art market, decoupling of structures and trust building. Acting as agent between user and artist and between art gallery and user, Artvisor threatens to disrupt the traditional means of art consumption. Data were collected via in-depth interviews with Artvisor’s managers, gallery owners and cus-tomers. The findings show that while digital technology is reifying and making art accessible, both managers and galleries wish to preserve the idea of art as “exclusive” and “elitist,” to be “handled” by experts in the field, while customers value the expertise offered by the platform and wish to engage in co-creation practices. The study contributes to the field by looking at the disintermediated art experience through the lens of institutional theory and institutional entrepreneurship and by identifying four sensitive areas of the online arts experience – exclusivity, quality, expertise and value co-creation – that arts administrators need to be conscious of as we enter a more dynamic era of art consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-54
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Arts Management
Volume22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar. 2020

Keywords

  • Art market
  • Decoupling
  • Digital technology
  • Institutional theory
  • Reintermediation
  • Value co-creation

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