5 Tech Companies Offer Efficient Information Sharing
The art market is evolving as more and more art transactions are taking place online. However, despite grabbing most of the headlines, e-commerce sites aren’t the only platforms that are revolutionizing the art world via tech. A number of companies offer software solutions to help art market businesses -from auction houses to galleries to art consultant firms - run their businesses more efficiently.
Due to the historical and prospective significance of the works being bought and sold, art transactions require a complex web of data that is continually evolving about both the object and its sales. With the help of online software providers described below, this information is more easily organized, updated, accessed, and shared. We spoke to five software providers catering to the unique needs of various sectors in the art market.
SOFTWARE FOR AUCTION HOUSES
Traditionally, many auction houses operate on a number of systems that are kept separate--ranging from descriptions of a work to condition reports to sales history and information about the consignor and shipping details. In response to the extensive amount of information that must be tracked when a work is sold, Norway-based software company Rambase developed a standard business model for auction houses. Software programs like Rambase are making art auction sales a much simpler process for buyers and sellers alike. For example, with Rambase, when an auction lot is won, sales information and shipping is automatically generated for the auction house to minimize the manual workload involved in a sale. This also decreases the likelihood of fraud or misinformation. Says CSO Odd Magne Vea, “many of the bigger auction houses have started to develop their own softwares, because none of the existing solutions could meet their specific demands. We see the current art market as a very exciting market that is now in the process of adopting high-tech solutions to meet new demands from their customer base.”
SOFTWARE FOR GALLERY & COLLECTION MANAGEMENT
Accurate documentation and up-to-date records on an artwork is essential for any gallery or business managing a collection. Many gallery & collection management companies offer software solutions to make it easier and quicker to collect, record and share more comprehensive information.
Founded in 1989, Artsystems is a desktop-based platform that offers comprehensive tools for art management professionals and will be launching a web-based software this fall. Users are able to easily update and track artworks and their values, locations, exhibition histories, provenance, and condition reports in a comprehensive, easily accessible database. This saves users time and money versus saving information offline. Plus, says Managing Partner Doug Milford, “having essential information adds value and must be easily updated or accessed...without an automated art management database, insurance claims and inheritance questions can become a nightmare to sort out.”
SOFTWARE FOR CONDITION REPORTS
Condition reports contain vital information about the physical condition of a work of art, and must be updated over time as the physical condition may change. Articheck is a software solution developed for independent collection management specialists, museums, and galleries, to more quickly create and easily update a condition report online. These condition reports can then be quickly shared with chosen specialists of various fields including lawyers, conservators, and historians.
Says founder and CEO Annika Erikson, “the main reasons that someone would want to use Articheck is so that they can have all of their information in this one repository. This is helpful for insurance purposes, due diligence, and tracking whenever a work moves or undergoes a condition report.” It also makes the buying process easier, as collectors can request that a gallery provide them with an Articheck report so that they know the condition its in when bringing it into their home, along with extensive records detailing the work’s history, such as where its travel history.
SOFTWARE FOR ART RESEARCH
Panopticon is a content management software that allows subscribers to access extensive information about works and individual artists. Working with artist’s foundations and estates, galleries, museums, scholars, and artists, Panopticon compiles all known information about an artist into one accessible platform in an effort to preserve the legacy of an artist. “Most people think that a work is valued by simply putting a price tag on it, but that’s just one way to value a work” says CEO Roger Shepherd. Panopticon offers traceable provenance information and verifiable evidence regarding an artist’s work in the form of a catalogue that estates can share or refer to. It is also very easy to upload documents, data, research, and images to expand the archive.
Many of the artists featured on Panopticon are those who were not necessarily recognized during their lifetime, including many women of color. This is an important teaching tool, particularly for these overlooked artists. In this way, resources like Panopticon allow us not only to have extensive historical information right at our fingertips, but it also allows us to continually investigate and learn more about art history.
SOFTWARE FOR HOME CURATION
Most collectors purchasing art for personal use imagine how a work will appear on a specific wall or area of their homes. A recently developed app called Artrooms allows users to superimpose art into a photograph of a specific room, enabling more informed buying decisions. Says founder Sam Anderson, “the Artrooms app makes it easier and more convenient than ever before for artists and galleries to superimpose their latest art in a gorgeous room image and curate works in new ways.” A user can upload an art image, choose an sample interior or upload their own, and share. Artrooms can benefit art consultants and galleries because it allows for buyers to consider the works as tangible pieces within a space before they see it in person. Says Anderson, “this gives collectors an instant feel and understanding of an art piece’s positive impact on a room, creating further emotional connection to the art and likelihood of purchasing.”
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