Can This Upstart Website Become the YouTube of the Art World?

Daily Plinth aims to become a one-stop shop for art-themed video.

Courtesy Daily Plinth

A new website is angling to become the art-world version of YouTube. Daily Plinth, which launches today, seeks to aggregate and promote art-themed videos that might otherwise fall through the cracks of the internet.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with clients, about how they’re making videos, and getting great response when they put the content on their own website and social channels,” says the site’s co-founder and publisher Cornell DeWitt. “But when tossed into the gaping maw of YouTube, it disappears.” And with that, the idea for a platform for art-themed video content was born.

The site will post videos that fall under a different theme each day of the week. Monday, for example, will be dedicated to museum exhibitions; Wednesday will be dedicated to artist studio visits; and Friday will host market-themed content. (Longer form videos including talks, lectures and mini-documentaries will wisely be reserved for Saturday.)

Each month, a guest editor—a curator, collector, writer, or other tastemaker—will make tailored selections for the site. The venture is self-financed, DeWitt says, with “a modest amount of private investment.” (The other partners wish to remain anonymous.) Daily Plinth will not sell ads, but will accept payment for promoted posts and sponsored content. The rates for promoted content will range from around $100 to $5,000.

DeWitt has worn many hats in the art world, including as a dealer (“I was a real leader in the realm of mid-tier galleries closing down,” he says) and as an art-fair director (he was the director of Pulse from 2010 to 2013). He also worked in business development for artnet News’ parent company, artnet Worldwide.

DeWitt says his various roles motivated him to “look for a way to support mid-tier galleries and help them figure out how they can better reach their target market.”

The first public video of the day (in keeping with Thursday’s theme of historic or archival content) is a fascinating compilation of “vault” footage from pioneering content producer Art21. The eight-minute clip is packed with enticing shots of artists in the studio describing their process, including Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Kerry James Marshall, Bruce Nauman, and Sally Mann. (There are also cameos by tennis great John McEnroe and actor and collector Steve Martin.)

As the site grows, DeWitt hopes to prove there is an audience for this material and motivate galleries, museums, and other art-world denizens to produce more and better quality video.

Daily Plinth “plays very much into this Instagram world,” DeWitt says. “What we’re trying to do is just pull it back a little bit more. We want to start to bring people back from this hyper-short attention span and provide a bit more engagement.”

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