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What do art and technology have in common? A lot more than you’d think

Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015
Emilie Trice, director of 212GALLERY, shows off a work by artist Mark Cesark.Photograph by Jordan Curet — Fortune Brainstorm Tech

“Just ship it.”

“Online is changing the way we do business.”

“We want to serve the community.”

It turns out that the industries of art and technology have an awful lot in common. A special group of attendees of this year’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference learned this on Monday on the conference’s first-ever Aspen Art Tour.

At a private viewing of the “Warhol & Technology” exhibit at 212GALLERY, we learned that the pop art master always had commercial appeal in mind—so much so that he would hide his more commercial efforts when he had people visit his studio. When he’d have famous subjects visit to be photographed, he’d choose a local photobooth over his own studio so that the photos would be developed instantly and that he’d be able to sit side-by-side with his subjects and choose which photos he could quickly release to the world.

Just ship it.

Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015
Amelia Manderscheid, head of e-commerce for Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art department. (Jordan Curet/Fortune Brainstorm Tech)
Photograph by Jordan Curet — Fortune Brainstorm Tech

At the gallery, Amelia Manderscheid, the head of e-commerce for Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art department, explained how online bidding has changed the way the storied auction house conducts live auctions. Today, it’s not unusual to be standing in the auction room while on the phone with a bidder halfway around the world and have less information at your fingertips than they do.

Online is changing everything.

Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015
Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015

During a visit to the Aspen Art Museum, attendees learned about Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban’s glass-and-wooden latticework design, laid out to allow the free museum to have a more open dialogue with the town around it. Now, passersby can climb the grand staircase to the top of the museum to see art and the mountains, without ever passing by the reception desk.

Serve the community.

Aspen Art Tour at Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2015
Jordan Curet/Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Toward the end of the tour, we passed by Tibetan monks in temporary residence at the museum, hard at work creating a mandala from sand. It was beautiful. We stopped and watched as they worked carefully and quietly, save for the scrapes of their tools as they distributed vibrant color grain by grain. They were close to completing the mandala. Once finished, they will ceremoniously destroy it.

Which, come to think of it, recalls another tech industry mantra. Here today, gone tomorrow.

For more coverage of this year’s Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, click here.