News Digest


Three decades of access to a global Internet wiped a slew of business models off the map, undercutting middlemen in everything from music to hospitality. During this period of widespread disruption, art galleries and museums managed to shield themselves with a stubborn insistence on direct experience of unique physical objects. At least up until the pandemic of 2020, the prerequisites for collecting a one-of-a-kind painting from a blue-chip gallery included a plane ticket to New York or Los Angeles, a hefty chunk of disposable income, and enough leisure time to glean the artist-du-jour from the annual cycle of global art festivals. Art lovers with a museum nearby could ogle art for a cheaper fee, but museums have not exactly been immune to privilege lurking behind the scenes. Some corporate sponsors have swayed exhibition priorities; some wealthy donors have wielded an unhealthy dose of influence on which works get collected. A tiny fraction of artists, now increasingly diverse but historically dominated by white men, made it past these gatekeepers into private and public collections.

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