In recent years, observers and participants alike have passionately debated technology’s prospects for altering the art industry, particularly the contemporary-gallery sector. A few staunch Luddites aside, many, if not most, now seem to believe that wholesale “disruption” of this specialized market is inevitable. But both parties in this would-be merger harbor grave misconceptions about the other’s business—misconceptions that distort their often-utopian predictions about the “frictionless” and “democratic” future of contemporary-art sales.
“The Great Reframing: How Technology Will—and Won’t—Change the Gallery System Forever” seeks to correct the record on both sides. By revealing the secretive and counterintuitive dynamics of the 21st-century art market as only a veteran of the industry can, Tim Schneider unpacks how and why this unique space dismantles many of digital innovation’s most dependable weapons of disruption. And by elucidating tech’s winner-takes-all effects on earlier-adopting cultural sectors like pop music and film, he foreshadows the unintended (and unsettling) consequences that e-commerce, data science, and other advancements are likely to unleash on a largely unsuspecting art industry. Through this double-barreled approach, “The Great Reframing” blasts open the debate about how—and how much—contemporary artists, gallerists, and professionals alike need to evolve if they want to avoid being herded onto the industry’s scrap heap in the years to come, beginning right now.