Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer variety of contemporary art production? We have always felt challenged by this, particularly due to the fact that so much of the time great art is discovered by accident.
This is why we began structuring the mass of information available on art production today. The first thing we created was the widely appreciated online art guide, ArtFacts.Net™ where we compiled tens of thousands of artists, exhibitions and institutions into a comprehensive and easy-to-use online tool.
In spite of its success, we were not completely satisfied with the system of listing artists alphabetically. We were eager to devise and exploit even more effective ways to organise artists and their exhibitions. So, we asked ourselves if it would be possible to predict an artist's career using econometrical methods.
The aim of the Artist Ranking system is to arrange artists by their exhibition success. The Artist Ranking Tool evaluates exhibitions held on an international level since 1996.
The theoretical basis of the Artist Ranking Tool pays homage to the the so-called economy of attention (after a book from Georg Franck). Franck says that attention (fame) in the cultural world is an economy that works along the same lines as capitalism.
Capitalist, or economic, behaviour is based on property, lending money and charging interest. For Franck, the curator (also the museum director or the gallery owner) acts as a financial investor. The curator/investor lends their property (their exhibition space and their fame) to an artist from whom they expect a return on their investment in the form of more attention (reputation, fame etc).
Therefore, the relationship between gallery owner and artist relates to that between investor and entrepreneur. The investor puts his money into companies from which he expects to gain rewards. This is always a mixed bag, where a few succeed and pay for the investment in others not so achieving.
The Artist Ranking Tool cannot judge the work of a specific artist, it works by ordering artists according to the professional attention that is invested in them. It provides the wider audience with a feeling for the standing of a particular artist in the eyes of the professionals but is not reflective of the artist's actual economic success. ArtFacts.Net™ acknowledges that there might be a correlation between fame and money but this is not the method of calculation behind the Artist Ranking tool.
The Artist Ranking Tool places great importance on the international representation of artists. Only artists operating in established structures will be chosen as a primary value source. The reason why the Artist Ranking Tool has been built this way is because we at ArtFacts.Net™ recognise the value of mutual knowledge in the art world.
The Career Analyser Tool examines an artist's career in the ranking system from two further perspectives: the position in the ranking and the score for each exhibition - both results are calculated over the years. The last object of the analysis is the "Peer Group": on the basis of the different ranking careers, we detect the artist's artistic entourage, that is the artists alongside whom he/she usually exhibits in group exhibitions.
Working with the secondary market data starting from 2000 (source www.mutualart.com), ArtFacts.Net™, in collaboration with www.arttactic.com, made it possible to have a detailed and in depth analysis of an artist's career in the auction market and produced the Auction Analyser Tool.
This tool examines the following aspects: quantitative analysis, localisation and characterisation of the markets; sales volumes, top sells, beaten prices and bids; absolute and average values relative to the used medium and the period of production; analysis of the "Peer Group".