New Online Site Daata Editions Wants to Shake Up the Market For Digital Art

Mega-collector Anita Zabludowicz approved the debut artists.

 

It’s no secret that an online presence is a must for any up and coming artist today, but what about artists whose entire oeuvre is digital? Daata Editions, a new online art sales platform, is addressing a challenge artists and dealers have been grappling with for years: how to cultivate the market for new media art.

Conceptualized by curator David Gryn, who has previously worked to develop the film program at Art Basel Miami Beach, and supported by mega-collector Anita Zabludowicz, the website launches at the height of New York Frieze Week with a series including a showcase at NADA. Eighteen artists, including Ilit Azoulay, Jon Rafman, Amalia Ulman (see Meet Artist-cum-Instagram Star Amalia Ulman), Takeshi Murata, and Chloe Wise (see Artist Chloe Wise Remakes Chanel Bags Out of Bagels and Pancakes), have been commissioned to create new works of sound, video, and web-based art. A handful of artists created teasers for the platform, including Rafman (above).

“I’ve realized that the art world, at the moment, only takes seriously artwork that can be bought and sold,” Gryn told artnet News during a phone interview. “Instead of fighting it…let’s find a model that maybe helps in the distribution chain.”

It’s a levelheaded attitude that might have promise, even in the increasingly saturated online art sales industry. With works ranging from $100–$5000, Daata Editions is accessible to thrifty art lovers, and the business model rewards both early adoption and brand loyalty—artworks come in a set of 15 editions, and the price for each iteration increases by $100 until they sell out. At which point, the next work by that artist becomes unlocked on the site.

“The hope is that Daata will attract lots of competitors and indeed variant models for the distribution, commissioning, and collecting of artists moving image, sound, and web-based works. Existing and future collectors need various ways to view and acquire art and, in particular, ways that reflect the art that is made for and shown on it,” Zabludowicz said, speaking to artnet News via email. “We hope that this will appeal to younger collectors who live and breathe the Internet life.”

There’s no question that digital artists and collectors are underserved, but Daata Editions isn’t the first to address the problem. For instance, Depict, an online digital art sales platform which launched in 2014, offers two key products in addition to their online store: a museum-quality frame for displaying digital art, and a web-based cloud platform for storage, digital watermarking, and payment processing. In addition, the past few years have seen auction houses attempt to muscle in on the market, from Phillips’s “Paddles ON!” digital art sale, to Christie’s 2013 flop, titled, “First Open: New Media.”

In the wake of Christie’s “New Media” sale, it became apparent that the established auction houses are still figuring out how to brand and sell new media art. The sale featured mostly photography and video art jammed under the heading of “new media,” which further complicated matters. Clearly, it’s going to take someone with a vision to correct the myriad misunderstandings around the genre.

Gryn has allies in his founding class of artists, who he describes as “complete partners,” as well as in Zabludowicz, a longtime champion of emerging artists who splits her collection between New York, London, and a remote island in Finland (see The 100 Most Powerful Women in Art: Part Three, So, Who’s Boss in the London Art Scene?). Zabludowicz had a hand in selecting the artists that would inaugurate the platform, some of whom are featured in her collection. The site itself, which Gryn describes as “playful, gamelike, and aesthetic” was designed by Studio Scasascia, the London-based firm that created the websites for Sounds of the Universe and Damien Hirst’s e-commerce venture Other Criteria (see Damien Hirst Opens Gift Shop in New York).

“[Daata Editions] provides a suitable space for the kind of work that never leaves the confines of my sorry hard drive, because it is somehow unfit for a gallery space,” Matt Copson, one of the artists involved, wrote in an email to artnet News. “It still maintains the democracy of online viewing, whilst allowing the artists to benefit monetarily…which is, quite frankly, useful.”

For a genre that’s struggled for years to find commercial appeal, we imagine that this venture will be welcome news to the growing number of digitally-savvy art collectors.

Daata Editions will launch on May 14, 2015 with a private preview at NADA New York. 


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