From cameras to records, to apparel and more, Amazon is your one stop virtual shop for just about anything under the sun. But, what about art? On August 6, the multi-billion dollar company introduced AmazonArt, a fine arts and collectibles category selling everything from Warhol’s signature soup cans to Normal Rockwell oil paintings.
But the new category isn’t just for heavy hitters; Amazon has partnered with buyers, gallerists, and independent artists to provide them with an audience, as large as 200 million, which a unique opportunity for anyone whose ever dreamed of attaining exposure on a national or international scale. For a small percentage of commission on each sale, Amazon promises a large network of viewers and connections, largely untapped, by way of this new virtual, wheeling-and-dealing playing field.
To date, Amazon has over 180 galleries offering 43,000 works of art from over 4,500 artists. As the business maintains, they aren’t out ‘to sell Impressionist masterpieces.’ Actually, 95% of the fine art sold on AmazonArt is less than $10,000.
This isn’t the first time that Amazon has tried to venture into the world of selling art. Back in 1999, Amazon partnered with art giant Sotheby’s to conduct online art auctions, but the deal shortly fell through. Since then, fine art and Amazon were as distant as night and day, until Amazon decided to set their sights on smaller galleries and independent artists. You won’t find places like The Gagosian or Pace on its list, but Amazon stays true to its philosophy of providing quality products at affordable prices. Galleries like Masterworks Fine Art in Oakland, Calif., Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury, Vt., and Borghi Fine Art in Englewood, N.J., have all joined in.
Brooklyn artist Kate Nielsen was contacted by Amazon in July after they mistakenly took her website to be a gallery, and she a gallery owner.
“It’s such a monster company, it was disconcerting,” Ms. Nielsen said. “I thought, ‘How did you find me, this little person in Brooklyn?’” (New York Times)
Since signing up with Amazon Nielsen has been selling merchandise so quickly and efficiently its hard to remember what the art market was doing before to get artist’s works to sell. And, remember that promising audience? Well, after being featured in an article on Hyperallergic entitled “Ten of the Cheapest Artworks on Amazon Art” one week, Nielsen sold eight prints the next week.
Although other sites have long been offering what AmazonArt offers (Etsy, eBay, Costco, Artspace, Artsy and Artsicle to name a few) the web giant’s familiarity, reputation and customer satisfaction are what set it apart from the rest. Though AmazonArt is ripe in the making, its quickness, ease of use and appeal are sure to revolutionize and impact the art market in coming years.
Read more on The New York Times