The perils of selling electronic art.

The big picture.
Nov. 23 2004 7:38 AM

Psst! Electronic Art

Will digital editions become the art world's new headache?

(Continued from Page 1)

Worse yet, after a few decades of electronic-edition works shuttling through the art market's notoriously opaque channels, faked certificates of authenticity will surely start circulate (just as they do today for Modiglianis and Maleviches). At which point, no expert will be able to distinguish market-legal pieces from their digital doppelgängers. Electronic editions have an allure, removing production hassles for artists, allowing collectors to customize works for their environment, and offering dealers a chance to reap massive financial rewards for simply uploading data files. But perhaps it's not coincidental that one of the model's architects, Javier Peres, was a lawyer before becoming an art dealer. Anyone who switches too glibly into this new art-market mode will discover a hornet's nest of potential litigation and provenance battles.

Marc Spiegler lives in Zurich and writes frequently about art and the art market.