Art for Money’s Sake

This article is about a new state of the art storage facility that will store and facilitate the market for artwork. This story raises some interesting questions about artwork.

What determines the monetary value of artwork? Does the treatment of art as a commodity to be bought and sold and speculated upon undermine its purpose? Should great artwork be in private hands away from public view?

“The complex will be packed with thousands of works of art, from old masters to contemporary rising stars. But unlike at a museum, few will ever see the works that live inside it…

“Largely hidden from public view, an ecosystem of service providers has blossomed as Wall Street-style investors and other new buyers have entered the market. These service companies, profiting on the heavy volume of deals while helping more deals take place, include not only art handlers and advisers but also tech start-ups like ArtRank. A sort of Jim Cramer for the fine arts, ArtRank uses an algorithm to place emerging artists into buckets including ‘buy now,’ ‘sell now’ and liquidate.’ Carlos Rivera, co-founder and public face of the company, says that the algorithm, which uses online trends as well as an old-fashioned network of about 40 art professionals around the world, was designed by a financial engineer who still works at a hedge fund.”

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