Forget about mutual interests with potential partners walks on the beach, Rachmaninoff piano concertos, sour cherry ice cream , forget about life goals kids vs no kids, city vs country living , forget about your occupation. If not, swipe left. If so, swipe right. Then they can go make out in a car parked in the woods, or get married and have five children, or whatever they decide to do next.
Now a new venture is trying to do for fine art what Tinder has done for dating. As first reported in English by the hip art website, Sartle , ArtOpen is a forthcoming project funded in part by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture.
It is a website that allows any artist to create a profile and upload images of their work, free of charge. Other users of the site can browse the artwork on it and decide whether or not they like it. If you like the work, based only on its appearance and title, then your evaluation is recorded and added to all the evaluations of that work over the past month.
Awards are given for the works in each category painting, drawing, graphic design, and more each month. There are also professional jurors—art historians, gallerists, critics and such, who will bring their expertise to the evaluation process and help determine the artworks of the month and who wins the planned annual awards—full disclosure: The system is open to anyone, free of charge, and is seen as a democratic stimulus for helping artists and encouraging an art-loving public—hence the support from a government ministry.
This is a particularly good deal, since most artists are indentured to galleries. First of all, galleries are notoriously difficult to get into, highly selective of who they represent.
But this format is not just clever and artist-friendly. It also has some scholarly backbone to it. And so it should be when buying art. You are also buying as close to directly from the artist as you can get without buying directly from the artist.
ArtOpen even allows you to contact the artist, combining social media with art purchases, and is a vehicle to let the artist sell easily and safely, rather than a gallery, which sometimes feels like an intrusive or pretentious middle man, both to buyer and creator. A 3-meter-long painting and a half-meter long painting might look the same online.
But to be fair, it is rare these days for art lovers and buyers to see works in person. Choices are made based on reproduced versions of the work digital or in printed catalogues , less often than seeing the real thing in person.
And so ArtOpen is not all that different. Just simpler, more democratic. At the moment, the ArtOpen website is in a very basic though charming beta version www. A more elaborate site and, eventually, a Tinder-style smartphone app will be released. Have a few spare minutes while waiting for the bus? How much cooler is it to spend that time appraising some fine art, rather than noodling around with pinball or checking your Facebook wall for the seventeenth time today?
And making life easier for artists around the world? Sounds like a win for all. This article originally appeared in Slovenian in the print magazine, Zarja.
Noah Charney is a professor of art history and best-selling author of, most recently, The Art of Forgery. You can learn more about his work at www.