Art | E-cquisitions

On a mission to make fine art accessible

The e-store that makes browsing for art an absolute breeze

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On a mission to make fine art accessible

August 16 2011
Charlotte Abrahams

Artspace is a US-based e-store with a mission to make fine art accessible to everyone. Working in collaboration with top galleries, museums and cultural institutions including the Guggenheim, the Art Institute of Chicago and London’s White Cube, it offers both limited editions and original works by emerging and established artists. And because there’s no expensive bricks-and-mortar gallery to support, the prices don’t go much above $10,000.

The site is easy to use – Catherine Levene, the CEO and co-founder, is a digital media innovator and former COO and general manager of the highly successful trend website DailyCandy. But it’s a big and varied collection so you do need to set aside at least half an hour to get the measure of what is here.

I began by checking out the list of featured artists – an impressive roll call ranging from A-listers such as Chris Ofili and the late, great Louise Bourgeois to rising stars such as Clifford Ross (whose Hurricane LIV photograph, second picture, is a Benefit Edition in support of the organisation Charity: water; $450 framed; edition of 300).

Then I clicked on “Browse”, where I was delighted to find that I could search not only by medium but by low-brow themes such as price, size, subject, room – and even colour. Personally, I think this is the site’s best feature; galleries tend to disapprove of customers who arrive looking for something to match the sofa, but here you can be quite shameless. So I typed in “bathroom” and was rewarded with the amusing yet haunting photograph Bath Time with Clara and the Domesticated Alligator (first picture, $250 framed; edition of 250), and “orange”, which produced the pulse-quickening print Amour vivacité ardeur fantaisie by “assume vivid astro focus” (third picture, from $250).