Has art lost its aura? How disintermediation and decoupling have changed the rules of the art game. The Artvisor case

Chiara Piancatelli, Marta Massi, Paul James Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The changing role of the digital technology is reflected in the increasing use of devices for e-commerce purposes. Through the evolution of mobile technologies, more and more digital platforms are changing the way business-to-consumer activities are conducted in many sectors, including hospitality and mobility. This paper examines how digital technology and technological change can lead to institutional turbulence that is changing the way art is sold and consumed in the contemporary art market. Through the example of ‘Artvisor’, a newly launched online invite-only platform that has introduced an alternative business model in the art market, the authors examine how artists and art galleries might face the digitalization process. As a novel institutional entrepreneur, Artvisor offers a disintermediated art experience based on conformity to the art market rules, decoupling of structures and trust building. Acting as an agent between the user and the artist, and between the art gallery and the user, Artvisor threatens to disrupt the traditional mechanism of art consumption. Data for this research were collected through in-depth interviews with Artvisor’s managers, gallerists, and customers. The authors found that while digital technology is reifying and making art accessible, both managers and galleries wish to preserve the idea of art as something ‘exclusive’ and ‘elitist’, which should be ‘handled’ by experts in the field. Results also show that customers value the expertise offered by the platform and wish to engage in cocreation practices. The paper contributes to the field by looking at the disintermediated art experience through the lens of institutional theory and institutional entrepreneurship, and by identifying four sensitive areas within the online arts experience, viz., exclusivity, quality, expertise and value co-creation, which arts administrators need to be conscious of as we enter a more dynamic era of art consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalInternational Journal of Arts Management
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • disintermediation


Dive into the research topics of 'Has art lost its aura? How disintermediation and decoupling have changed the rules of the art game. The Artvisor case'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this