By Scott Reyburn
June 8, 2018
Last month in London, DACS, Britain’s leading artists’ rights management organization, unveiled “The Art Market 2.0” to lawmakers in the House of Commons. A report by academics at the Alan Turing Institute in London and Oxford University, it envisioned how blockchain technology might “change the balance of economic power in the art market” and “integrate art into the financial sector.” A financialized Art Market 2.0 would lead to an “explosion of liquidity and value,” according to the report.
A day later at the London Business School’s 10th Art Investment Conference, held at Phillips auction house, there were, as usual, sessions discussing the performance of art as a financial asset class. This year, however, the event focused on whether “new technologies can make art a better investment.”
“It’s not Wall Street,” Alain Servais, a Belgian collector, former investment banker and one of the speakers at the conference, said in an interview. “I don’t think art can be considered as an asset class.” He pointed to the art market’s lack of liquidity and regulation and to the ability of trade insiders to control the prices of certain highly collectible names. “These are wealthy people’s toys,” he said.