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PSFK Conference SF Recap: New Art

PSFK Conference SF Recap: New Art
Arts & Culture
Lauren Isaacson
  • 25 july 2008

At PSFK Conference SF, gallery owner Jen Bekman (20×200) discussed how technology has changed how artists work and their relationships with their patrons. Some highlights:

– Jen Bekman’s gallery has had an interactive aspect from the start (one of the few that had a web site that updated regularly)

– She went online to find artists for her gallery

– Eventually overwhelmed with artist submissions, she started an online competition to control the inflow of submissions

Hey, Hot Shot! is a photo competition that gives young photographers guidance and sometimes their first break.

– She attracted a lot of emerging buyers as well, though it was hard to make sale. They wouldn’t make the move to buy. So Jen found a way to make the art so inexpensive that they couldn’t say no. She got them to understand the joy of owning art. 20×200 was the gateway drug to owning art.

– Didn’t want to cannibalize the gallery with the 20×200 business and wanted to be the dealer of choice for the emerging buyers.

– 20×200 has shipped over 15,000 prints all over the world. Artists are getting better paid than ever.

– The low point of access is making people/buyers more articulate about art

– Editions on 20×200 are now selling out before Jen can notify her mailing list.

– Technology does not only enable distribution, but it also enables production through digital reproduction.

– Emerging artists more able to make money from their work.

– 20×200 lets Jen try something new twice a week, meaning less risk than a gallery show. It lets Jen set up a trial period to see how the artist will fare, gauge the potential for popularity and a gallery show.

– Jen still uses diverse internet sources to find her new artists (FFFound, BoingBoing, Flickr, etc.)

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