Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Amazon launches an online marketplace for fine art

As we discussed in class this week, the marketplace is a system through which parties engage in exchange. Little to my knowledge, Amazon has a marketplace specifically for Art that was launched last year. It showcases more than 4,500 artists’ works for sale to the Amazon User. “They will charge a $100/month fee for Arts Galleries to just to be listed in the the marketplace.” According to the article, a lot of art galleries have not responded but this was back in 2013, as I explore the website it seems that there are many participating galleries and that this, thus far, has been a successful marketplace. Back in 2000, Amazon and Sotheby’s teamed up to create an auction site, however, it closed 16 months later. Let’s just hope that Amazon Art continues to bring Art to people all around the world, even if they don’t want to buy it.

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3 comments on “Amazon launches an online marketplace for fine art

  1. cayleycarroll
    September 16, 2014

    When I think of ordering from Amazon, I think of books, baby diapers and generic electrical wares. I also think of mass-markets and warehouses. The last thing that pops in my head is quality art. It is completely understandable why art galleries would be concerned with the “tasteful presentation” of their pieces at Amazon. I am curious to see if this will turn out to be a lucrative venture, though I have my doubts.
    I feel like serious art connoisseur would want to experience the art pieces in person before making a big investment. I could be completely wrong though, perhaps this is what America needs to get more art integrated into households and businesses. One thing is for certain, if Amazon is able to sell high-end art through their website, then they definitely deserve that 20% cut after all.

  2. hshambroom
    September 16, 2014

    This business venture is also an interesting example of arts participation straying away from in-person interactions and more toward participation via media and technology. I completely agree with the above person that an art connoisseur would want to see the art in person. Serious art collectors often have relationships with the gallerists they buy through or artists whose work they purchase. If buying at auction they usually have a history with the work they plan to purchase and have done their research on its sale history, provenance, etc. I question if Amazon has considered the value of these person to person relationships in the art market. It also interests me that Amazon plans to take only a 5-20% cut, when most major galleries take a 50% cut.

    That being said, while I’m not sure this is marketed successfully toward serious collectors, I do think it’s a great opportunity for people, perhaps a younger generation, who are interested in starting their collection or learning about collecting to easily access and browse thousands of works. If it is successful it will certainly help bring the art market to the masses and perhaps start to remove the stigma of upper class wealth from art purchasing.

  3. gaochang619
    September 19, 2014

    Online art trading is always a hot topic in this era of “world wide web” because marketers and managers would like to see a boom in their art market via this convenient media. Nevertheless I am not that supportive because I agree on the point of view that when it comes to visual arts, people would like to get connected with collections in person rather than reading introductions online. And in The Brave New Digital World posted by Yaoge we can also see a discussion about this issue.

    It is interesting that I have attended a brainstorming with my friend during her preparation for undergraduate paper, which focused on the online trading of fine arts. Presenting worries and critical thinking, we were both interested in a newborned transaction form for fine arts in China called Online to Offline which is abbreviated as O2O. In this transaction mode, customers scan and get to know their target product on the website of galleries and make a reservation, and then they will come to the store and finish the whole purchase process. As a brand new business form, O2O has just started its first step. But given the implicit essence of in-person connection of visual arts, I temporarily believe that O2O would be a possible future trend of such online art trading like Amazon Art.

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