Art Market Watch

By Laura Jackson

Lightening speed advances in technology have altered almost every aspect of modern life as we know it. As a true veteran in the art business, Tom Bruski has seen his share of change in the 31 years since he became a gallery owner.

“If I had to name the one thing that has most affected the art world universally within the last decade, it would most definitely be technology,” said Bruski, owner of the successful Thomas Anthony Gallery. He has shared his passionate expertise with Park City since 1999 when he first opened his gallery on Main Street. Today, the Thomas Anthony Gallery represents not only a refreshingly diverse collection of extraordinary art, but also an amazing group of talented and renowned artists from around the world.

Bruski explains that although technology has made a universal impact, the ways in which technology has been embraced varies almost as much as the unique art in the galleries themselves. But it has certainly forever altered the ways in which the art market operates.

At the Thomas Anthony Gallery, his use of technology has been all about finding the best ways to serve and understand the needs of his varied collectors. Choosing to look at the use of technology as a value-added index, he frequently benefits from specialized software programs that provide invaluable information on the ever-changing interests of collectors. Software can help galleries know at the end of the day exactly which artists and pieces were accessed most through their website, what part of the world the interest came from, and even how much time a browser spent on any particular work of art.

Asking the Right Questions

“What good are computers? They can only give you answers,” were once the wise words of Pablo Picasso. Of course, when we lost this great art master in 1973, no one could have even dreamed where technology would lead us within a few mere decades.

An important part of the beauty and appeal of art will always be about the questions it raises in its viewers. Art will always be intensely personal. It’s that private experience that encompasses its mystery and magic. Technology has not changed that, but what it has done is intensify a gallery’s ability to understand collectors and how they are responding to what’s out there.

“With the increase of the volume of art in the marketplace, as well as knowledge about what’s available, artists have responded by becoming more receptive to the needs and desires of their discerning collectors,” explains Bruski. The role of gallery owners has greatly expanded in recent years as their ability to read the pulse of collectors has exploded.

The Beauty of Our Art Age

“Computers have lots of memory but no imagination” (author unknown).

The increase in technology has in no way decreased the popularity of art in our age. In fact, many could argue that the exact opposite has happened. The volume, quality and diversity of art available today has reached a level that has never been seen before—and Park City is fortunate to be a great representation of that trend.

We live in a society where art is needed now more then ever. In a world where we are often forced to be continuously connected by cell phone, email or text, art can provide a brief respite, and an escape from a place where the proverbial button must always be in the “on” position. Strolling into an art gallery allows us to press “pause” from our harried lives, if only for a moment to enjoy its beauty.

Bruski described his passion for the art gallery business perfectly when he said, “I’m still like a kid in a candy store every morning I walk in.” And one quick look around his amazing gallery will easily reveal why.