Monday, December 6, 2010


Google CEO to Launch Online Art Sales Site
November 11, 2010

NEW YORK— Having covered the physical world with an art empire encompassing 10 galleries around the globe, Larry Gagosian has taken the next logical step — he’s gone virtual, teaming with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Russian heiress Dasha Zhukova, Wendi Murdoch (wife of Rupert), and others to roll out a personalized online fine-art emporium. Called, the brand new company was strung together by Carter Cleveland, a 24-year-old entrepreneur, and will introduce aspects of technology pioneered by custom music-curating site Pandora to art sales, according to a report in Business Insider, which broke the story.

Zhukova yesterday announced that she was stepping down from her editorship of British art and fashion publication Pop magazine to pursue “digital publishing projects.” The launch follows news that art dealers, Gagosian included, will participate next year in the first online art fair, VIP.

In an exclusive statement provided to ARTINFO, Cleveland, the founder and CEO, says the site’s chief breakthrough resides in harnessing Pandora’s template — which creates ongoing playlists based on users’ personal tastes, allowing them to buy the music online — to sell art. “I think this fusion of leaders from the arts, technology, media, and business is a recognition of the great opportunity that exists in’s art genome technology,” he said. “This technology can expand the art market by providing greater access to existing and potential collectors, while simultaneously helping galleries and dealers to better understand their needs and tastes.”.’s chief operating officer, Sebastian Cwilich, is a former Christie’s executive who launched the auction house’s private sales division, then directed the business side of Haunch of Venison after Christie’s acquired the gallery in 2007. (Haunch’s founders, Harry Blain and Graham Southern, stepped down earlier this year, founding a new gallery in London; Blain has also partnered with Emmanuel Di Donna to open another gallery in New York.)

In the statement, Cwilich says: “The support and visibility that receives from partnering with these top leaders, combined with our unique search technology, will allow to promote the work of the great artists represented by our partner galleries and museums. We are really excited to help new and existing collectors discover original art they’ll love.”

Next week the fledgling site will debut a series of “ Nights,” described in an email sent to beta subscribers as “private gallery receptions created exclusively for collectors in New York.” The first of these “Nights” will be held at Haunch of Venison’s Manhattan gallery, which is currently showing an exhibition of work by Peter Saul.

In addition to Gagosian and the other big names, has attracted investors including Twitter creator and CEO Jack Dorsey, Joshua Kushner of Thrive Capital, Accel‘s Jim Breyer, and Hunch CEO Chris Dixon.

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