Redefining roles: Social media and art market


Today’s rapidly changing world is swiftly replacing the traditional rules of a decade ago with a new order.

When we examine the issue holistically, we encounter social media with enormous power. A brand new order has been established as a result of the combination of consumer preferences, people’s desire to be active or on the agenda, easy accessibility, the desire to be more courageous in participation and the desire to exist alone. The inevitable development of social media and the mutation it experienced in a short time are also factors. As in every medium, social media has caused some values to change and the rules to be rewritten in art. Of course, the pandemic that affected the whole world is also responsible.

To delve into the subject a bit more, until very recently, collectors purchased works of art from famous galleries and auctions organized by traditional auction houses, either directly or by representatives they assigned. Today, the situation has partially changed. Moreover, this change is not limited to experienced collectors, but has also impacted those who had never considered collecting. Just a short while ago, many people who had never thought of becoming collectors started participating in online auctions through social media, a concept that is quite new.

Looking at the big picture, this situation could be perceived as a positive development for the art market. Of course, nothing can replace the desire to own a work of art by seeing it in person, liking it and feeling the meaning of it. Nevertheless, this forced change may have brought some positive results. For instance, collaborations between artists, museums, galleries and auction houses have overcome the barrier of geographical boundaries. A second-hand market for some artists has emerged and people’s awareness of investing in art and creating collections has increased.

Despite these positive aspects, it is noteworthy that in the realm of social media’s influence on the art scene, individuals who may not have had the chance to attend exhibitions or auctions in major cities can now start buying paintings through the increasing number of online auctions, without knowing whether the paintings they purchase have been appraised, without seeking expert opinions, without being dependent on a gallery or art consultant and without knowing whether the works of the artists they buy will hold value in the future.

It is necessary to distinguish between those making decorative purchases and collecting art to decorate their homes, and those who want to create a genuine collector’s consciousness. People who want to become collectors should still follow classical methods.

When I asked Yahşi Baraz, the founder of Galeri Baraz, one of Türkiye’s first private art galleries, established in 1975, for his opinion on the matter, he made the following comment:

“Artists can achieve success with their creativity, but they always need a gallery to introduce them, support them and follow them. This is how the system works all around the world. Purchases made without questioning the artistic value of things that appear on social media have the potential to end in disappointment.”

Imagine, not every work of well-known painters with famous names is extraordinary. Over time, the performance of painters can vary; they can experience ups and downs. In this case, the key individuals are professional gallery owners. Gallery owners, being both at the center of the event and having an objective eye, shed light on painters with their guiding aspect.

A gallery that can anticipate the audience for artists’ works and establish connections, both domestically and internationally, plays a pivotal role in shaping the art market correctly.

In short, the commercial aspect of the job requires a collective effort. This collective effort achieves success through the combination of creativity and commercial experience. This success is, in fact, the correct identification of the value of an art piece considered as a commercial object. After all, this piece should preserve its value for generations, even multiplying it.

May the legacy of art endure and inspire generations to come.

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