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Samsung Displays ‘The Frame’ at Art Basel – Great Marketing or Contemporary Nonsense?

Published April 16, 2024 3:33 PM
Samantha Dunn
Published April 16, 2024 3:33 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Samsung Electronics will join this year’s Art Basel in Basel and showcase at Milan Design Week.
  • The Frame is a digital canvas that has been used to display 2,500 artworks from prestigious museums and galleries globally.
  • Samsung’s “human” design principles play a key role in integrating art into its technology products.

Samsung’s The Frame  has been chosen as the official display for Art Basel  2024, the world’s largest art exhibition.

The partnership between Samsung and Art Basel will see the electronics company showcase artwork on its digital art display television, prompting the question of utility versus aesthetics.

A New Marketing Segment for Samsung

Art Basel is known for its celebration of innovation and contemporary aesthetics – the ‘it’ place for artists, collectors, and celebrities who want to explore and share unique artist-led experiences.

Showcasing The Frame at Art Basel strengthens Samsung’s reputation as a design-led brand. The partnership with Art Basel positions the electronics product as a lifestyle and luxury item that can be appreciated by art lovers, potentially opening up a new market segment for the company.

In a recent interview  with Samsung Newsroom, Stephen Mannello, Head of Retail and Licensing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, outlined his views on the crossover of art and technology- highlighting how Samsung has created a “unique space where technology meets digital innovation and interior design.”

Samsung’s Human Centred Philosophy

This strategic thinking may also be the reasoning behind Samsung’s ‘Newfound Equilibrium ‘ exhibition at Milan Design Week.

Samsung’s “human-centered” design philosophy emphasizes designing products that are not only functional and innovative but also deeply resonate with users on an emotional and practical level. This approach is based on addressing the real needs and desires of people in their everyday environments.

“Design must fully take the human experience into consideration, and Samsung’s design principles achieve this. With our human-centered design philosophy, we aim to create a future that harmonizes with the lives of our customers through innovation with purpose.” Said TM Roh, President and Head of Corporate Design Center at Samsung Electronics.

Not All Technologies Welcome

While there may be a technology focus at Art Basel, there is a notable absence from crypto companies. The downturn in the NFT market and the devaluation of cryptocurrencies had a visible impact at Art Basel in 2022.  With fewer exhibitors showcasing digital art compared to the peak in 2021 it seemed that the initial excitement surrounding NFT-based art and cryptocurrencies has significantly cooled off in 2024.

After a turbulent couple of years in the crypto world, with major currencies seeing substantial declines in value, the art market appears to be returning to more traditional media and partnerships, distancing itself from the volatility associated with digital assets.cc

This shift reflects a cautious approach from galleries and collectors at major art fairs, prioritizing stability and perhaps reevaluating the role of digital assets in the art market context.

Future Art Products in The Works?

Samsung’s aim to cement itself as a design-centered brand has seen it enter a number of contemporary art spaces,  partnering with established art houses and design centers.

But the question consumers are asking: Does it look good?

Market research  suggests that while The Frame lives up to its name and is streamlined and aesthetically pleasing, it is an expensive purchase, costing between $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the size. Access to Samsung’s Art Store comes with 1,600 pieces of art but also ties customers into a monthly subscription.

Despite the obvious ‘hype’ cycles witnessed in both art and technology,  Samsung’s art venture is one example of a very clear trend of new technologies enhancing art, or even becoming art. Unlike the short-lived NFT hype, major tech companies are actively investing in new art forms that will have a major cultural impact.

Art Basel will include 286 galleries from 40 countries and territories and will take place from June 13 to June 16.

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