Fine Art Bourse

 

The art world is evolving to cope with the fragmentation of the market. Traditional auction business models are now facing tough competition from exclusively online auctions, with lower running costs

When you think of an art auction, what do you picture? A man with a gavel, standing next to a priceless masterpiece while a well-dressed audience make bids with furtive hand gestures; twitch, and you might accidentally lose a small fortune. Yes, it’s thrilling theatre, but it can also be a little daunting.

Enter Tim Goodman. After a career spanning 40 years in the auction business, he is a man on a mission to shake up the industry.

While the internet had a massive effect on many auctioneers, the worlds of fine art and antiques remain dominated by the same few historic houses. But for how long? “I believe the future lies in a new business model for fine art auctioneering,” says Goodman, formerly Australian head of Bonhams and later Sotheby’s. “The traditional auction business model is no longer sustainable.”

That is why Goodman has just launched an online auction: Fine Art Bourse (FAB). His desire is to refresh the entire auction world and attract completely new audiences. The aim of FAB, he says, is to “democratise the secondary art market and make more art more accessible to more people”.

FAB’s first sale, “Erotic, Fetish & Queer Art & Objects”, takes place on 25 September, and has already attracted controversy following Facebook’s refusal to post advertisements for the sale.

The images include La Toilette by Bernard Fleetwood-Walker and a 19th-century silver cigarette case featuring a nude after the French Orientalist painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. Facebook blocked the images and locked FAB’s account on grounds of indecency.

Following what he saw as unfair censorship, Goodman addressed an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, expressing his outrage over the platform’s inability to distinguish between pornography and fine art.

“Facebook seems to be using its monopoly over social interaction to impose absurd standards of political correctness,” he wrote. “The problem is not… conservative advertising guidelines, [but] a system that doesn’t allow for real judgement.”

But Facebook is not the only big name that Goodman is now up against. His new venture is adopting digital technology to break apart the stronghold of the industry’s power players. Unlike traditional auction houses, with their expensive galleries and doorstopper catalogues (which are environmentally unfriendly, says Goodman), FAB focuses on what really matters to both buyers and sellers.

“My model lies in slashing costs in three areas: bricks and mortar, human resources and printing,” explains Goodman. Auctions take place purely online, specialists are hired for specific projects as needed and there are no printed catalogues.

These cost efficiencies, combined with locating the business in Hong Kong, which has no indirect tax nor copyright and artist resale royalty charges, have allowed FAB to offer the tempting prospect of 5 per cent premiums. With fees at traditional auction outlets nearing 20 per cent for sellers and 25 per cent for buyers, Goodman sees the internet as a way to overturn the more old-fashioned models of auctioneering.

It’s not just about cutting costs; FAB offers impressive flexibility, too. “As the world unremittingly grows more dependent on mobile devices,” says Goodman, “it only makes sense for art to join the ranks of industries disrupted by digital technology.

“With each coming generation, the leap to purchasing art online gets smaller and smaller, with portals like Instagram changing the dialogue by providing a platform for a new generation of younger people to admire influencers, source artists and purchase art without third-party intervention.”

Fine Art Bourse’s first auction, ‘Erotic, Fetish & Queer Art & Objects’, takes place on 25 September. Details of this and all forthcoming FAB sales can be found on Barnebys

By Tom Jeffreys

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Zdjęcia dzieł zostały umieszczone na profilu domu aukcyjnego. Administratorzy strony ocenzurowali je twierdząc, że reklamy nie mogą zawierać treści dla dorosłych.

Cenzura objęła zdjęcia 19-wiecznych dzieł sztuki, umieszczone na fanpage'u australijskiego domu aukcyjnego Fine Art Bourse. Obrazy przedstawiały kobiety z nagimi piersiami, co nie spodobało się administratorom Facebooka. Post, opublikowany przez właściciela Fine Art Bourse - Tima Goodmana, miał być reklamą erotycznej wyprzedaży obrazów.

Reakcja Facebooka zaskoczyła biznesmena. Tim Goodman napisał list otwarty do Marka Zuckerberga, w którym uznał, że "roboty" skanujące treści na portalu nie są w stanie odróżnić sztuki od pornografii. Stwierdził, że takie "pomyłki" są nieuniknione, jeżeli władze portalu wolą posługiwać się sztuczną inteligencją, niż szkolić swoich pracowników. Goodman określił politykę Zuckerberga jako "absurdalną".

Przed napisaniem listu Goodman próbował wyjaśnić sytuację mailowo. Otrzymał jednak automatyczną odpowiedź: "Nie publikujemy reklam zawierających nagość, nawet jeśli nie jest ona pokazana w kontekście erotycznym. Zakaz obejmuje również nagość w treściach o charakterze artystycznym i edukacyjnym".

To nie pierwszy raz kiedy Facebooka zalała fala krytyki z powodu cenzury. W 2016 roku ze strony usunięto zdjęcie nagiej dziewczynki, uciekającej przed bombardowaniem podczas wojny w Wietnamie. W czerwcu natomiast z Facebooka pomyłkowo ocenzurował zdjęcie karmiącej piersią matki.

Jagoda Mówińska19.08.17 (02:15)

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Less than a month since its launch, and weeks from its first auction, new online auction house startup Fine Art Bourse (F.A.B.) is already causing quite the stir. Founded by Tim Goodman, a 40-year veteran of the art auction industry in Australia, the digitalized online auction house has attracted attention from around the world after Facebook refused to post ads for its “Erotic, Fetish, & Queer Art & Objects” auction on September 12 because they contained images of artworks with naked men and women.

In an open letter to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Goodman said that he understands the need for an organization to have standards, but is outraged at what Facebook’s nudity policies fine inappropriate. “The problem is not the fact that it has conservative advertising guidelines, it's that it has designed a system that doesn't allow for real judgment,” he wrote. “As a brand, Facebook seems to be using its monopoly over social interaction to impose absurd standards of political correctness.”

Conceived out of frustration with the traditional auction industry and the “increasingly unsustainable fees they charge,” F.A.B. aims to change the global art auction market by charging much lower fees than bricks-and-mortar auction houses and providing special services. Digital cost efficiencies combined with locating the business in Hong Kong, which does not have indirect tax and is not party to treaties relating to resale royalty or copyright, has enabled F.A.B. to charge buyers and sellers premiums of just 5%. “Digital technology has disrupted many industries. Now, it is about to happen again – this time in the art world,” says Goodman. “For decades now the traditional auction industry’s costs have risen far quicker than revenues like in many other industries. Auctioneers have understandably raised their charges. However, for a seller today paying up to 50% fees (including buyer’s premium) this is ridiculous and simply unsustainable. Something has to give.”

BY NICHOLAS FORREST | AUGUST 27, 2017

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Facebook est souvent critiqué pour sa politique de modération et ce n’est sans doute pas près de changer. La plateforme a en effet commis une nouvelle bévue en censurant des œuvres d’art datées du XIXe siècle. Ce n’est évidemment pas la première fois que l’équipe de modération du service commet une telle erreur. Elle a en effet censuré à plusieurs reprises L’Origine du Monde de Gustave Courbet et elle en a fait tout autant avant l’été avec un sublime nu de Modigliani.

Facebook : une nouvelle affaire de censure

C’est évidemment problématique, et encore plus dans la mesure où certains contenus clairement répréhensibles restent souvent en ligne pendant de longues heures avant d’être supprimés par les modérateurs de la plateforme.

Tim Goodman se passionne depuis longtemps pour tout ce qui touche au domaine de l’art et il a ouvert sur les terres australiennes une maison spécialisée dans les ventes aux enchères, la Fine Art Bourse.

Afin de toucher le public le plus large possible, il a pris l’habitude d’annoncer ses prochaines ventes sur la page Facebook de son entreprise.

Il a récemment publié un message sur la plateforme pour annoncer la tenue d’une vente spéciale regroupant plusieurs œuvres d’art issues du XIXe siècle. Le message comprenait plusieurs illustrations et certaines d’entre elles mettaient en scène des nus de la collection avec des poitrines apparentes.

L’homme a ensuite lancé une campagne sponsorisée sur la plateforme pour atteindre de nouveaux prospects. Facebook n’a cependant pas apprécié la teneur de la publication et la campagne a été refusée par les modérateurs.

Tim Goodman a reçu en parallèle un message automatique de l’entreprise, un message lui indiquant que la plateforme n’autorisait pas les publicités présentant de la nudité, et ce même si ce n’est pas de nature sexuelle. Pour ne rien arranger, le message indiquait que cette mesure s’appliquait également à la nudité utilisée à des fins artistiques ou éducatives.

Un problème de société ?

Agacé, l’homme a publié dans la foulée une lettre ouverte à Mark Zuckerberg afin de lui signifier son incompréhension.

Il explique dans sa missive que la notion de censure nécessite de l’éthique et une sensibilité humaine. Elle ne peut donc pas être laissée entre les mains d’un robot ou d’un script automatique. Très incisif, l’homme explique aussi que c’est dommage qu’une des plus grosses entreprises du web ne soit pas en mesure de mieux gérer ces questions.

Tim Goodman n’a évidemment pas tort sur le principe, mais ses arguments ne s’appliquent pas uniquement à Facebook.

De mon point de vue, il s’agit avant tout d’un problème sociétal et il suffit ainsi de regarder autour de soi pour constater une véritable régression en matière de nudité et/ou d’érotisme.

À la base, la nudité n’a rien de pornographique ou de sexuel. Elle ne décrit pas une action, mais un état.

Toutefois, peu de gens parviennent désormais à faire la différence et il suffit ainsi d’un simple mamelon apparent – parfois moins – pour donner suite à d’improbables débats sur les réseaux sociaux.

Facebook est évidemment le plus touché compte tenu de sa popularité, mais toutes les plateformes sociales sont logées à la même enseigne.

By MOTS-CLÉS

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Dear Mark,

On July 28th our auction house Fine Art Bourse went live as the first cloud based art auction platform and we took to Facebook to start sharing our content with the world. From August 3rd, we began our attempts to create Facebook ads and were shocked to find that not only were we immediately blocked from advertising, but Facebook went on to flag our entire account, making it nearly impossible for us to adjust our content and appeal.

This issue is much bigger than Fine Art Bourse. I understand the need for an organization to have standards. It requires great diligence to keep millions of users across a worldwide demographic from getting offended, but your nudity policies are bullshit and frankly I am not the only one who’s outraged at which sort of material you deem inappropriate.

With just a few clicks of my mouse, I was able to find countless stories over a history of ludicrous censorship against female sexuality and particularly, women’s breasts. Before 2015 you were banning photos of breastfeeding women. In 2012 you banned the poster of Pauline Delpech, depicting the importance of regular breast cancer screenings. In 2016 you blocked Sydney artist Ella Dreyfus for posting photographs of ageing nude women, and you censored Aboriginal rights activist Celeste Liddle for posting an image of two Aboriginal women with painted chests and bare breasts engaged in a cultural ceremony in the desert.

What these scandals have in common is that Facebook is not drawing any distinction between hyper-sexualized images of women, pornography, nudity for awareness, nudity for innovation, and nudity in art.

Your guidelines, equally, have been all over the place and only amended under social pressure.

In 2015 you stated that images being used for humorous or satirical purposes are allowed: “Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes.” Two years later and we’re going backwards, with your reply to us last week stating: “We don’t allow adverts that depict nudity, even if it isn’t sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes.”

The problem is not the fact that you have conservative advertising guidelines, it’s that you’ve designed a system that doesn’t allow for real judgement. As a brand, Facebook seems to be using its monopoly over social interaction to impose absurd standards of political correctness. The censorship issue is a serious matter that requires ethical judgement, human sensibility, and accountability. I believe failure is inevitable if you continue to cut corners and rely on robots to handle complaints and individual cases, rather than train your staff. You’re running one of the 10 most valuable companies of the last decade and your censorship protocol on nudity is no more sophisticated than a brief to an office in Hyderabad, India to “remove sexual content”. It’s laughable.

Your mission is posted right now on your twitter page banner in big letters, to “Bring the world closer together.” How can you achieve this goal if your censorship protocol is so culturally obtuse that it could impede any information-sharing around women’s rights, breast cancer, and the circulation of classic and modern art?

I am at a loss.

Sincerely, Tim Goodman

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