Mankind has always felt a need to decorate their surroundings, all the way back to our oldest ancestors with their crude cave drawings. Needless to say, [most] art has evolved and now with the Internet, it’s more accessible than ever. Enter Artspace.com, whose mission according to Chairman Christopher Vroom, “is to enable a broader group of people worldwide to collect art, to learn about artists, to learn about art galleries, institutions and nonprofits who are doing great things around the world.”
Eve by Wangechi Mutu, 2011
I met Mr. Vroom at the beautiful Mondrian South Beach during a brunch honoring the brothers Simmons’ (mogul Russell Simmons, Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and artist Danny Simmons
) non-profit Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which exposes disadvantaged kids in New York City to the arts, as well as provides exhibition opportunities for “underrepresented artists and artists of color
.” The event was celebrating the 15th
Anniversary of Rush Philanthropic with a collection of 15 works on display [selection of works pictured at left
], a buffet that was itself a work of art and cocktails sponsored by Bombay Sapphire. (Russell was scheduled to make an appearance, but turned out to be a no-show.)
Just recently launched last April, Artspace.com works with the “world’s leading cultural institutions, museums, non-profits, artists and galleries to help more effectively market [them, and] to sell work to a broader group of people.” The website has already established a popular web presence with over 50,000 people worldwide visiting the site monthly, and that number is expected to grow by 20% per month. They work with galleries around the world from the US to London to Brazil to Denmark and offer shipping of both original works and reprints to 16 different countries.
So how did Artspace.com and Rush Philanthropic come together? Vroom says “We have a tremendous
respect for the work that nonprofits are doing in the arts around the country and part of our mission is to help nonprofits be more successful by creating editions programs for them that they can use to raise money to support their operations. And so, I’ve known Danny Simmons and Russell for more than 10 years and have tremendous respect for what they’ve done to introduce art into the lives of disadvantaged kids in New York through the Rush Philanthropic Foundation. So when the opportunity came to celebrate their 15th anniversary, it was a logical collaboration to create a portfolio that showcases some of the fantastic artists that have worked with Rush over the past 15 years and to make those works available at super accessible prices.” Said collection is currently available to be purchased as a box set and each piece is also sold separately by Artspace.com.
Personage by Kenya (Robinson), 2011
And Rush isn’t the only partner they are proud to support. Vroom lights up as he says “We’re working with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, we’re working with Lincoln Center, the Aspen Art Museum, the St. Louis contemporary, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Berkley Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the Boston ICA, the Philadelphia ICA, so we’re working with a wide range of people.”
American Family by Diane Wah, 2008
Art can be an intimidating subject, not to mention completely subjective. In addition to selling a variety of contemporary work, Artspace.com also wants to educate it’s consumers about the industry. Vroom claims the goal is to simultaneously “combine the selection of art from the greatest artists working today with education and information about the works so people can really dig in and get connected.”
He also adds “The lion’s share of every sale we make goes to a non-profit or an artist.”
When asked how emerging artists can get involved with Artspace, Vroom says enthusiastically “We’re really interested in showcasing both established artists and the brightest emerging artists and so artists can submit their work to the website, firstname.lastname@example.org and then we review those and connect with observations about the work and see where there’s a fit for the platform.”