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Whats the Deal with Wydr, the "Tinder for Art?"

The Swedish app promises easy love in a chaotic market, but does it work?

In a long line of proposed technological solutions to market woes, a new app from Sweden called Wydr seeks to apply the Tinder framework to the buying and selling of art. The hope, according to founders Matthias Dörner and Timo Hahn, is that it app will democratize the art market by allowing users "to easily express their opinion, turn their favorites into personal galleries, and buy the art they love." 

In conversation with TechCrunch, Dörner gives an explation of the app's utility, replete with all the best jargon of any startup. He asserts that, “Wydr changes how people interact with art. No curator, as all artworks are community curated. Artists get feedback on what users like, and users see what’s hot.” Championing the community, promising to change interaction, and lionizing feedback are typical of tech solutions to esoteric human problems: just look at other Tinder clones like BarkBuddy (Tinder for dogs), Thrindr (Tinder for threesomes), and ShoeSwipe (Tinder for shoes). 

It's to be seen whether this philosophy can translate to art. Even in museums, viewers are tragically rushed, as an experiment at the National Museum in London showed back in 2000. The Alexander Sturgis-curated Telling Time, which used eye-tracking to observe how people look at art, found that of 5,000 subjects, the majority tend to be drawn only to the focal points of a piece before moving on. Another study found that museum visitors spend an average of 15-30 seconds looking at the artwork. Reduce this to the fractions of a second spent judging prospective matches on Tinder, and it's difficult to believe that true art love can be found this way, but it can't hurt to try. 

Nevertheless, Wydr could present an alternative to the question gallerist and curator Michelle Gaugy presents on Quora: "Why don't artists like the current art market?"

"Running an art gallery is a very expensive proposition. To succeed, it generally needs to be located around other art galleries, preferably successful ones, which often (though not always) means high rents," she explains. This means that betting on innovative artwork that might not sell is rarely an option for a successful gallery.

She continues, explaining that the majority of buyers at galleries need work that is sized for houses, rather than an epic 75 inch x 75 inch canvas that requires either a museum or a great hall to be displayed. Wydr claims that it can, indeed, connect artists to those with the means to buy their art, irrespective of geography. “Just last week an artist sold a 100 x 80cm large painting from Switzerland to the US—connected on Wydr,” Dörner tells Techcrunch.

While we're still looking for our match on Wydr, you can judge the app for yourself by downloading it here.

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