David Zwirner Gallery Introduces Click-to-Buy Platform

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Following a surge in online art sales spurred by the Covid-19 crisis of the past year, blue-chip gallery David Zwirner is debuting its click-to-buy marketplace Platform today. The website will offer roughly one hundred original works of art per month from a dozen independent galleries scattered across the globe. Prices for the works are intially expected to range from $2,500 to $50,000, with buyers able to view prices and click a “buy” button rather than the “inquire” button that is typical of many online gallery-run sales sites.

Speaking with the New York Times, gallery owner Zwirner acknowledged that the marketplace was aimed largely at millennials who “don’t go to galleries necessarily and they don’t really go to art fairs. They look at things online.” Prior to the pandemic, Zwirner said, these clients, who tend to discover art on Instagram or via word of mouth, had not been adequately catered to by the art world.

The gallery briefly presented an earlier version of the marketplace last year, and was met with success. Returning galleries who participated in that effort include New York’s Bridget Donahue and Los Angeles’s Night Gallery. Among the marketplace’s new participants are New York galleries Bortolami Gallery, Charles Moffett, and Jessica Silverman Gallery; among the artists represented in today’s launch are painter Jane Dickson, photographer and video artist Jibade-Khalil Huffman, and painter Kenny Rivero.

Though online marketplaces such as Artsy and Artnet have existed for years, Zwirner’s entry into the field, which follows on the heels of Sotheby’s 2020 introduction of click-and-buy website Gallery Network, is remarkable in that it denotes a shift from the traditional gallery model. Reflecting the level of service typical of Zwirner and galleries of its caliber, Platform offers detailed descriptions of works that outstrip those of its competitors; additionally, artists are said to be producing work specifically for the site.

Critics of Platform argue that the launch is a publicity move, one that paints Zwirner as a do-gooder while allowing the gallery to reap a 20 percent profit from each sale. Others see it as a way for the gallery to cherry-pick emerging artists from smaller, less wealthy galleries while assimilating information regarding those galleries’ clientele. Supporters, including galleries interested in launching their own similar efforts and artists interested in participating, point to increased visibility for artists as well as a broader market reach.

“We will never go back to the old way of working,” Zwirner told the Times. “We’ve encountered a much larger art world than we thought existed. If it proves to be a robust primary market, the sky’s the limit.”

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