Young titans of tech are slow to embrace the art market

Art dealers in the San Francisco area are lamenting the lack of Silicon Valley investors. While pricey art is normally a status symbol for your average one percenter, dealers are learning that tech titans aren’t so enamored with big ticket art.

Bloomberg spoke with some monied tech sector entrepreneurs to find out what’s going on.

One set-for-life app developer explained that while he definitely has cash in hand to fund any art purchases that may strike his fancy, he feels art should be more about how much pleasure it provides a person, not its price.

“When a $1,000 piece brings me just as much enjoyment as a $30,000 work, I don’t see why I would ever spend $30,000,” he said. “And no, I’m not on a quest to discover why I should spend $30,000 on art.”

Another tech maverick explained she likes art and supports local artists, but has been staying out of the pricey art game because, “even though I am very interested in art, I find investing in the art market intimidating.” She doesn’t know where to start or how to educate herself.

In addition, the difference between the tech industry and other sectors, is that it typically takes a billionaire at the top to act as an example for those below him to follow.

“Very often it takes a single figure in a community to become a mentor,” explained a dealer. Sadly, he continued, “I don’t know if that’s happened in Silicon Valley yet.”

Another reason the bigwigs have been slow to embrace top-dollar art purchases is that techies tend to shun ownership, instead gravitating to communal experiences and sharing economy companies like Uber or Airbnb.

“I think if I were in New York, it would be very different,” the app developer said. “I’d hang out with people who appreciate art more, and go to more galleries, and over time develop a finer appreciation of it.”