Over the next couple of weeks and months, it’s likely that almost every industry on the planet is going to undergo a seismic shift, but certain businesses are going to be better equipped to handle the pandemic and a probable recession than others. When it comes to the art world, the problems have less to do with supply and demand or the preservation of perishables and more to do with long-term health: are museums and galleries going to survive being vacant for so long? Are vulnerable artists going to keep being able to be discovered via brick-and-mortar exhibitions? Artland, an online platform that offers art for sale and 3D gallery experiences, is the kind of digital resource that many people are turning to now: it’s easy to use and it offers accessible technology that makes you feel like you’re still out in the world.
Mattis Curth, Artland’s CEO and co-founder, told Observer on Tuesday that the platform has experienced approximately a 30 percent increase in visitors in the last week, amounting to 100,000 site users who’ve been employing the website’s 3-D technology to virtually “walk around” galleries. Curth also added that several galleries have recently added 3-D experiences of their spaces to the Artland platform. When it comes to Artland’s selling platform, there have certainly been a significant number of shoppers using the site, but in terms of buying art online more generally, things may be too uncertain to determine whether we’re going to see any solidified, industry-wide upticks or downward spirals.
“I think it would take a long time to see any real effects,” Curth said, in response to a question about what the state of online art buying could be in a couple of months. “I think it’s a chaotic moment right now where people are holding back a bit more, but I think that things will be a bit more normal next week already. I think that if you look at the markets, if you look at the last financial crisis, the art market was of course also influenced, but a part of the market wasn’t really as influenced as the other ones. So I think that the art market’s pretty robust.”
“And also,” Curth added, “even though art is a top-of-the-pyramid product that you really don’t need—there’s a lot of stuff that you of course would go for first—but even so, the art market is pretty robust because there are a lot of patrons within this market that help the market to really survive through these kinds of times.”
Plus, you have to keep in mind that mega-sellers like Christie’s and Sotheby's already have well-established online auctions that are currently frequented by buyers all over the world. When it comes to the sale of art, many people are already choosing to select their purchases from home; a practice that essentially everyone is going to have to adopt for the foreseeable future.