The Internet and the Arts - Summer 2014

Comments: There are some amazing things happening on the internet as younger buyers feel more comfortable in dealing digitally. The Vogue article below and Sothebys and Ebay working together are things to watch. 

1. LONDON.- Second round of funding finalised for Vastari: Using the internet to share art securely with museums. Led by an all-female team, Vastari is a unique online platform designed to connect collectors and curators for exhibition loans. Founded in 2013, Vastari has already registered over 150 museums, including five of the top ten most visited worldwide, and has access to over 400,000 separate works. The company has just completed the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Programme, which has given them access to enterprise customers and support from top industry leaders. Moreover, Vastari is proud to announce the completion of a significant investment by Jenson Funding Partners via their Jenson Seed EIS Fund 2 in order to facilitate the next phase of growth for the business.
http://artdaily.com/news/70512/Second-round-of-funding-finalised-for-Vastari--Using-the-internet-to-share-art-securely-with-museums-#.U8BBMFfb4Sk

2. OTTAWA.- The National Gallery of Canada launched today a free mobile application highlighting 52 remarkable artworks from its collection of Canadian art. Art lovers will now be able to browse rich, exclusive content right in the palm of their hand, with in-depth descriptions of each work, artists’ biographies, video interviews with artists, and much more. Sponsored by Bell, the application is available on iOS or Android tablets and phones. Users can share images through e-cards, Facebook and Twitter.
“New technologies are helping to make the visual arts more universally accessible. Browsing the National Gallery’s Canadian art collection with our new mobile application offers a deepened experience for our visitors,” said NGC director Marc Mayer. “Moreover, thanks to Bell, those who are unable to enjoy these artworks in person can now access them from wherever they are.”
http://artdaily.com/news/70589/New-mobile-application-highlights-National-Gallery-of-Canada-s-Canadian-art-collection-#.U8Ae4Vfb4Sk

3. LONDON.- Second round of funding finalised for Vastari: Using the internet to share art securely with museums. Led by an all-female team, Vastari is a unique online platform designed to connect collectors and curators for exhibition loans. Founded in 2013, Vastari has already registered over 150 museums, including five of the top ten most visited worldwide, and has access to over 400,000 separate works. The company has just completed the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Programme, which has given them access to enterprise customers and support from top industry leaders. Moreover, Vastari is proud to announce the completion of a significant investment by Jenson Funding Partners via their Jenson Seed EIS Fund 2 in order to facilitate the next phase of growth for the business.
http://artdaily.com/news/70512/Second-round-of-funding-finalised-for-Vastari--Using-the-internet-to-share-art-securely-with-museums-#.U8BBMFfb4Sk

4. OTTAWA.- The National Gallery of Canada launched today a free mobile application highlighting 52 remarkable artworks from its collection of Canadian art. Art lovers will now be able to browse rich, exclusive content right in the palm of their hand, with in-depth descriptions of each work, artists’ biographies, video interviews with artists, and much more. Sponsored by Bell, the application is available on iOS or Android tablets and phones. Users can share images through e-cards, Facebook and Twitter.
“New technologies are helping to make the visual arts more universally accessible. Browsing the National Gallery’s Canadian art collection with our new mobile application offers a deepened experience for our visitors,” said NGC director Marc Mayer. “Moreover, thanks to Bell, those who are unable to enjoy these artworks in person can now access them from wherever they are.”
http://artdaily.com/news/70589/New-mobile-application-highlights-National-Gallery-of-Canada-s-Canadian-art-collection-#.U8Ae4Vfb4Sk

5. NEW YORK, NY.- ArtBinder, the pioneering app that enables galleries to present artworks remotely using simple, intuitive tools, announced today that it has raised a total of $3.17 million in a Series A round led by Index Ventures. The investment will be used to expand the company’s latest product, ArtBinder Viewer, a free iPad app for browsing artists and galleries around the world, and will further enhance ArtBinder’s technology and infrastructure to support its rapidly growing roster of international clients.
“Alexandra and her team have quickly established ArtBinder as the platform of choice for a growing number of prestigious galleries, because it allows them to leverage the power of tablets and the cloud to show art to their clients in a very compelling and seamless way,” said Neil Rimer, partner at Index Ventures. “We are very excited to be supporting Artbinder and its mission.”
Since launching in September 2011, ArtBinder has attracted an ever-expanding client list, including over 300 of the most influential international galleries and dealers – among them David Zwirner, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Hauser & Wirth, Gladstone Gallery, Lisson Gallery, and Pace – who use the product to streamline the sales, presentation and distribution experiences both within and beyond their gallery walls.
The app has naturally evolved to suit the demands of a growing number of collectors, artists and art institutions that use the technology to organize and manage their inventories. “I started ArtBinder while working as a gallery assistant in order to solve a rudimentary problem that existed within the industry,” said Chemla. “This new infusion of both capital and investors’ insight allows us to accelerate our technology, and to introduce product innovations that will increase efficiency for our clients in all aspects of their businesses.”
With the $3.17 million raised, Chemla plans to expand ArtBinder Viewer, which launches in summer 2014, making it an essential tool for galleries with which to promote their programming and interface with consumers.
Bruce Gibney, an early investor in PayPal said, “ArtBinder has provided a beautiful, efficient platform that allows galleries, artists, and collectors to discover and interact with each other - one that respects the needs and interests of all participants in the market. I look forward to continuing to work with Alexandra Chemla, one of the most driven founders I’ve met, to bring the Viewer and other new products to market in service of that goal.”
Additional investors include: Leon Black, CEO and Founder Apollo Global Management; Matt Cohler former VP of Product at Facebook; Adam Freed, former COO of Etsy; Bruce Gibney, former partner at Founders Fund; Ben Sontheimer, CEO of Vault Partners; collector and philanthropist Maria Baibakova; HRH Alia Al-Senussi; Julio Pekarovic, CFO at Quantcast; Abdullah Al-Turki; and David Rosenblatt, CEO of 1stdibs.com.
http://artdaily.com/news/71176/ArtBinder--the-leading-mobile-app-for-galleries--raises--3-17m-for-product-innovation-and-global-expansion#.U8BMOFfb4Sk

6. BEIJING The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has struck back using social media against what he sees as self-censorship when his name was omitted from a list of participating artists for a show at the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing. In protest, the activist-artist has removed his work from the exhibition, organised to celebrate the work of the late curator Hans van Dijk, a champion of contemporary Chinese artists
http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Ai-Weiwei-hits-back-at-alleged-censorship-using-social-media/32901

7. NEW YORK - Standing before Marc Quinn’s looming Myth Venus sculpture in front of Christie’s
Rockefeller headquarters last night was a masked protester holding a large poster that read F*** U. It was a parody of Wade Guyton’s 2005 Untitled that sold for $3.52 million just hours later at the live-streamed “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday” auction, which included 35 contemporary artworks from blue-chip names such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, Martin Kippenberger and Alex Israel, all handpicked by contemporary art expert Loic Gouzer, with the majority of the production on his—and Christie’s—Instagram accounts.
Guyton, who makes his art on inkjet printers and photocopiers, had used his own Instagram account over the weekend in what was quickly interpreted as a subtle threat, rather than just a cheeky response, to the auction by printing and photographing dozens of prints using the same file that produced his original inkjet on linen Untitled. He could flood the market, if he wanted to. But he didn’t and the auction, which “witnessed worldwide participation” according to Christie’s and surpassed its pre-sale target of $92.9 million to total a record-breaking $134.6 million, saw Israel’s Sky Backdrop sell for five times its estimate at $1.25 million in what was the artist’s first appearance at auction. Meanwhile Kippenberger’s Untitled sold for the world record price of $18.6 million. “Christie’s is taking contemporary art and making it go to prices that it shouldn’t,” the anonymous protester told the New York Observer. “By the time they’re 30, these artists aren’t going to have anywhere to go.” But if Gouzer’s auction has taught us anything, it is that what artists will have is Instagram.
The social media platform is not only launching the career of under-the-radar artists, it is providing the world with an entirely new way to access art. Where artists once had to first get support of the art world elite—critics, galleries and big name collectors, which would eventually lead to museum shows—before reaching the monied masses, today artists use Instagram as their own virtual art gallery, playing both dealer and curator while their fans become critics and collectors, witnessing the creative process in real time.
“I can post a painting and it will sell before the paint is dry,” explained artist Ashley Longshore, whose glossy crystal-covered canvases are regularly bought straight off her Instagram feed for upwards of $30,000. The 37-year-old is based in New Orleans but will often ship her artworks directly from her Uptown studio to London, Tokyo, and Switzerland, where she recently sold a painting to His Serene Highness Pierre d’Arenberg for an undisclosed amount. “My collectors will text and email me their credit card details, they mail checks; it is literally a frenzy to see who can whip out their AmEx first!” admits Longshore, whose nearly 2,000 Instagram followers, and subsequent clients, include the likes of Blake Lively, the former President of Time Inc. Digital, Fran Hauser, and “one of the wives” of the Rolling Stones. “Technology is the platform of my business: All I need is my iPad, my Instagram and a delivery truck to haul all of this gorgeousness to the new homes where they will hang.”.... more
http://www.vogue.com/culture/article/buying-and-selling-art-on-instagram/?mbid=culture_20140513_23833534#1

8. NEW YORK, NY.- Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without
permission from the Museum and without a fee. The number of available images will increase as new digital
files are added on a regular basis. launch of One Met. Many Worlds., a new interactive feature that is presented in 11 languages on the Museum’s website. One Met. Many Worlds allows visitors to explore more than 500 highlights from the Museum’s encyclopedic collection in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Through details of individual works of art linked to universal themes and concepts, One Met. Many Worlds. also invites visitors to respond by pairing images playfully, poetically, and creatively.
http://artdaily.com/news/70139/Metropolitan-Museum-initiative-provides-free-access-to-400-000-digital-images#.U8AuoFfb4Sk

9. NEW YORK - Sothebys and Ebay Again! The two auction giants had a failed partnership in 2003 but are trying again. Art dealer Sotheby’s on Monday unveiled a pact with eBay to host live New York auctions of art and collectibles in a bid to attract the online retailer’s 145 million active buyers. The companies will start offering a number of live auctions that will take place at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York. EBay, meanwhile, will soon launch a new portion of its site tailored for collectors of rare, unique and premium art and collectibles, as well as first-time buyers.
The partnership isn’t the first time Sotheby’s and eBay and sought to work together. Their first foray was a bit of a flop, as a bit to offer separate online auctions on Sothebys.com was discontinued in 2003. “There are simply not as many people prepared to buy authenticated fine art online as we had hoped, Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht told WSJ in 2003 when the auction house announced it would close its unprofitable joint online-auction venture with eBay. Fast forward to 2014, Sotheby’s says the timing is right to join the growing art world with new technology. “We believe there is a great opportunity, through this partnership, to truly make art more accessible to exponentially more collectors. That’s what makes this so exciting,” said Sotheby’s Chief Operating Officer Bruno Vinciguerra. Sotheby’s will be the key “anchor tenant” in the revamped marketplace eBay intends to unveil, which will include a new live auction feature and real-time bidding. The company said online bidders competed for 17% of the total lots it offered last year. In April of this year, a new record for an online purchase in a live auction at Sotheby’s was set when John James Audubon’s The Birds of America sold for $3.5 million.
http://fortune.com/2014/07/14/sothebys-bid-on-ebay-pact/