Monday, April 01, 2013

Announcing A-Trade

Among the most dreaded of phrases my partner Murat can utter in the morning (shaking me from my morning grogginess and sending me into a mini panic at times) is "I have a new idea." As if we weren't already busy enough, this perpetually percolating plan-meister apparently spends all his dream time concocting new business ideas or enhancements to our current endeavors, and the one thing they all have in common generally is less sleep and more work for moi. 

Mind you, sometimes, Murat's ideas are great (as in many of the innovations we're implementing in Moving Image). Other times he is crestfallen to have a bit of research reveal that someone else is already doing what he was sure was a bold new concept.

Several months ago, though, he hit another one out of the park and today it gives me great pleasure to announce, after a fair bit of consultation with a generous group of our collectors with backgrounds in finance, our latest initiative: A-Trade: The Online Exchange for Contemporary Art Options. Like many of our ideas, this final platform arose out of a process of first identifying real needs in the art world. In other words, the pain points. In one simple, online solution, A-Trade is designed to address several art world pain points, including:
  1. Logistical costs and challenges in moving and storing fine art objects
  2. Volatility in the art market, especially among non-blue-chip artists' works
  3. Time constraints for would-be collectors who have the funds but not the extra hours to learn enough about contemporary art to trade confidently in its markets
Basically, A-Trade offers collectors another way to participate in the contemporary art market while transferring a certain amount of the inherent risk to another party. While we expect A-Trade's products to grow, at the launch we're focusing on a single  derivative: Artwork Options.

How Artwork Options Benefit Artists 
Purchasing an Artwork Option gives collectors the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a particular work of art at a set price by an expiration date. This has great benefits for artists, as they need not even make the artwork until the collector decides, but they get a share of the option purchase price, giving them much-needed funding, as well as free time to network at the world's most prestigious fairs and biennials, essentially building their name recognition through the socializing aspect of the art world rather than having to be back in their studios all the time producing work they're not sure anyone will buy. Artists can have smaller (less expensive) studios, as the only requirement for them to participate is to create a 800 pixel wide jpg of the proposed artwork. This "Virtual Studio" idea, where you can do most of your artistic explorations on your laptop from a beach somewhere, would require artists to return to actually physically create something ONLY if the collector calls the option.

How Artwork Options Benefit Collectors
For collectors, Artwork Options offer significant logistical advantages. No longer must they rent warehouses to store their acquisitions, only to later realize that artist isn't actually going to have a strong career. Moreover, because A-Trade also provides (for an additional fee) up-to-the-minute pricing information on each of the artists whose work is traded via our platform, collectors needn't bother themselves considering the aesthetic significance of the artworks whose options they purchase. They can base all their decisions on the numbers alone, giving them maximum confidence at minimal risk.

Within a few months of launching, A-Trade will also introduce Single Artwork Futures,  which is basically a contract to deliver an artwork in the long-term future for a set price today, essentially letting collectors lock in an artist's emerging prices once they're more well known. Again, this allows the collector to shift a significant amount of the risk they would otherwise take on by relying on their own eye and tastes. 

Obviously, we are very excited about the potential of this new online venture. The potential for all parties to spend less time engaged in the hard and risky aspects of creating or collecting art, and more time enjoying the financial rewards to be had, seems limitless to us. 

For more information about A-Trade's pricing structure and how you can participate (as an artist or as a collector), please visit the  A-Trade Beta site here. Your feedback, as always, is very welcome.


Blogger Ravenna Taylor said...

hahahah! I caught on when you said artists wouldn't have to make anything and could just enjoy the "socializing" at art fairs.

4/01/2013 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

Sotheby's seems to be thinking along similar lines. This from ARTINFO:
"– Sotheby's Announces Full-Service Art Custodianship: The auction house has launched a new full-service art custodianship program that will "free collectors from the burdens associated with owning blue-chip works of art," according to a statement from the company. For a fee of $10,000 per year, specialists will take possession of new acquisitions upon a collector's successful bid, store them safely at one of Sotheby's own freeports, and alert owners when it might be a good time to sell. "With the help of our expert custodians, collectors will never actually have to look at their art again," explained Sotheby's."

4/01/2013 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Katarina Wong said...

As an artist, I'm deeply disappointed this is only an April Fool's joke. I was so looking forward to giving up my studio so that I could move to a beach-side, "on-demand" model of art-making. Damn.

4/01/2013 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Reals?? I dont think so.....must be April Fools! This monetorization of art in SO NOT you Winkleman!

4/01/2013 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger findingfabulous said...

Nice one. For a few paragraphs I was trying to see the merit in it...only because it is you... then I realized the date... Then the fact that this quite close to how the stock market
really works became quite depressing.

4/02/2013 08:44:00 PM  

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