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Simply stated, Artsy (<>) is an open source portal with a simple grand mission: “to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.” Launched in October 2012, Artsy includes a searchable database with more than 350,000 images of art, design, and architecture by 50,000 artists spanning all historical periods, though with an emphasis on contemporary works. Artsy claims to “be used by art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, collectors, students, and educators to discover, learn about, and collect art.” Because Artsy collaborates with museums, galleries, and auction houses its purpose crosses traditional academic bright lines. Promoting museum collections and its own Art Genome Project, Artsy is a deep resource for users interested in understanding art objects as cultural markers, art in society, and the evolution of art movements. Partnering with galleries and auction houses, Artsy offers users another consideration, namely art as commodity and the business of art sales and ownership. It is the juxtaposition of art as artifact and art as product that enriches Artsy as a discovery tool and platform, but may blur its credibility as a seemingly unbiased, open resource.

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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