Evening Standard: All you need is an algorithm to pen a hit pop song or write a bestseller
"Algorithms can predict whether a song will top the charts too. Using data from The Echo Nest, a music intelligence lab, data scientists analysed 2015’s top 10 dance music tracks for tech site Motherboard, finding their popularity largely predictable. More controversial is the use of algorithms to determine the worth of art. ArtRank, a service for deep-pocketed collectors, puts a “buy”, “sell” or “liquidate” rating on the creations of contemporary artists, in a similar vein to how an analyst rates stocks. The service’s founder, Carlos Rivera, claims to have developed his algorithms from investment banking. Unsurprisingly, many are aghast at the idea of decreeing the next generation of potential Jeff Koonses as “hot” or “not” before they’ve been allowed to develop fully. "
Read the whole story by Rosamund Urwin in The Evening Standard
Texte Zur Kunst: ArtRank and the Flippers: Apocalypse Now?
"What is new is the comprehensive and predictive way in which ArtRank seeks to monitor the market. Comprehensive, because it not only collects public information on exhibitions and auction prices, but also digital information on the artist’s visibility and popularity on social-media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as insider information about the artist’s production capacity or the amount of collector interest in his or her work. Predictive, because it does not just seek to identify who is emerging, but whowill be. Akin to the statisticians of the American supermarket Target, who, in a widely circulated news story, knew a teenage girl was pregnant before her father did, just by analyzing her spending patterns, ArtRank thinks it knows who the next successful artists will be even before the artists’ own gallerists are aware."
Read the whole story by Olav Velthius in the December issue of Texte Zur Kunst
New York Times: Speculating on Trophy Art
"Works by contemporary artists born after 1945 generated $17.2 billion in worldwide auction sales last year, a 39 percent increase from 2012, according to figures just released by the French database Artprice. Last November, a triptych by Francis Bacon sold for $142.4 million, a record for any work of art at a public sale. And a handy new website, www.sellyoulater.com, now advises speculators on which hot young artists to buy, sell or “liquidate.”"
Read the whole story by Scott Reyburn in The New York Times
Financial Times: Where art is off the wall
"The three – who identify themselves as a data scientist, a financial engineer and an art professional – have published a chart of work by emerging artists with classifications such as “Buy Now”, “Sell now”, “Liquidate” and “Purgatory”. Their analysis is not always apparently logical – for example New York-based rising star Lucien Smith, who sprays canvases with a fire extinguisher, gets both a “buy now” and a “sell now” in the listings."
Read the whole story by Georgina Adam at The Financial Times
ArtReview: Who's afraid of qualitatively weighted metrics?
"Funny, Matisse said nearly the same thing about Picasso’s Demoiselles. Well, he actually called it Picasso’s hoax, and in those terms, sellyoulater.com may be the most modernist of art-market sites. It is spare, yellow, gridded, like Mondrian’s Broadway minus the Boogie-Woogie, and it’s bent on confrontation. Its wager appears to be that intrigue and outrage are enough to drive traffic, gain attention and, presumably, at some point, turn a profit. If Artnet can sell its reports on individual artist’s markets for $186 each, and Josh Baer can charge $250 for a subscription to his insider-ish ‘industry newsletter’, then there is money to be made as a purveyor of art-trading data, and perhaps even more if one’s methodology remains proprietary. Placebo effects aside, do you still call it ‘snake oil’ if it works?"
Read the whole story by Jonathan T.D. Neil at ArtReview.