' Artworld ' New App for iPad & iPhone


Great new App for your   iPad  &  iPhone 

(though it also works on an  iPod  touch) 


is seeking collaborators and “early adopters” from among the

galleries, institutions and exhibition organisers for contemporary art. 

Such collaboration represents, we believe, a “win-win-win” for participating institutions, artists, and the community as a whole. Artworld will extends the reach of individual galleries, exhibitions and institutions; while institutions will lend Artworld a certain reputation and weight. And because Artworld charges neither fees or commissions, there is no competition. Contrast the spectre of amazon moving into the art market, and the literary book-trade laid waste. 

And Artworld is a community. It differs from commercial web-sites in that it’s not for profit but for artists: it is, for the artists, an entirely pro bono service. There is a commercial element: to meet expenses and to provide, maintain and expand the technical means. The service will be funded through crowd-funding, donations, and a small charge for downloading the app. 

If you’re curious about how such a collaboration might look in practice, I invite you to review our partnership with Gallery France, both as it appears on the Artworld app <https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/artworld/id543591554?mt=8 >, and in the companion article on Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/keith.mcfarlane.18/media_set?set=a.10202579663593597.1073741831.1256811155&type=3 >. I hope this will convince you. I think it should. Or at any rate persuade you to read further. While commercial galleries will in future be expected to contribute, modestly, to the support of Artworld, early adopters will pay no fee. The arrangement is at once personal, negotiable and obligation free. And as a further encouragement, early adopters will pay no fee in perpetuity: so keen are we to have you participation, your support and advice! 

In what follows, I will address concerns and set out some principles. These are as much a charter for Artworld as they are the basis for collaboration: 

[1] Artworld will ensure your sole management of artists and in respect of artworks with whom and for which you have a contractual arrangement. Your gallery, and only your gallery, will have access to Artworld’s management tools. Contact details, telephone numbers and email-addresses in respect of your artists and artworks will be precisely as you yourself specify, whether directing all queries to your gallery or, in some cases, to the artists themselves. 

[2] Artworld will support and promote each of your artists, representing your gallery at its physical location with each artist also placed in his or her own community. That’s double representation in Artworld for established artists! And because each artist is allowed up to nine pieces, in addition to as the nine allocated your gallery, you will be represented by ten times the number of works with ten times the geographical exposure of an individual artist participating alone. The benefit to your gallery is a much extended reach, and a safeguarding of your artistic and commercial relationships.

[3]: The purpose of Artworld is to assist both established artists and emerging talent: that means setting a bar below which work will not be accepted. Above that minimum standard, acceptability is related to the reputation of the artist, and, more practically, to the asking price.

[4] The end game for Artworld is not millions of bad artists, but a some thousands of very good ones, and among those thousands, some hundreds that are truly world class. That means around ten times the number of artworks as artists, in all perhaps fifty to a hundred thousands in the mature, global market-place. That’s in the future, however, still perhaps five years away.

Which brings me to the present, and the reality of a one-man business. Early income is needed to allow Artworld to grow, fund infrastructure, support ongoing development, and to promote the Artworld concept and the community itself. My needs are modest: to derive a personal income. My intentions, after a working life in industry, are to "give something back” to the community as a whole. Again, speaking practically, this means three things.

[1] The bar set for entrance will be lower in the early days than in the mature, fully realised market-place. It's a matter of achieving a balance between promoting excellence and encouraging artists to take part. Put crudely, I need to reach a sensible number of artists and create a good distribution of work in each of the principal markets; this in order to support the needed number of users / downloads of the app. In these early days of Artworld this does imply a degree of trust and a willingness from the best artists and their patrons to support the project by "lending" their support against the potential benefits that I am certain will be delivered. In the meantime, the investment is negligible, and the downside risk is, as I will argue, extremely small.

[2] I recommend you “arm" yourself with a Retina iPad (or at least borrow one from a colleague or d with an iPad, Seeing is believing. You will see how well artworks are presented by Artworld, and just how good is the major part of current portfolio. And our established, often prize winning, artists are entirely self selected! It’s a fact that once excellence is established in a region, it so discourages bad artists that it's hardly necessary to exercise editorial control. This is visibly true in New York State, where one excellent artist told another, and another and where public spirited educators in Cornell and New York State University have supported me significantly and without charge.

[3] As regards curation, and for the present at least, the mechanism is that artists can post work and that I myself monitor it daily. We have to date seen only a few artist that would certainly be excised as the site becomes better known, and currently we have around 4,000 downloads of the app and around 100 artists. the idea of free submission will continue, but as the task grows larger I can call upon several excellent artists to support me, and this also without fee, it's a community of individuals I have called the "Art Angels". The real benefit of a community backed initiative like Artworld is that it can deliver great service and maintaining high standard with minimal overheads. 

[4] Aside from encouraging excellence, it's the intention behind Artworld to promote a wider participation and a wider ownership of original fine-art. For me that also means taking good but not excellent work on the basis of a balance between price and quality. I think it's very much in the interest of the artists to provide encouragement to artists as they learn their craft, not of course at the very start, but certainly when they have first shown real potential. For example I'm trying to set up "pop up exhibitions" in the name of some fine-arts' academies, both in order to promote their graduating students, and also to "showcase" the schools themselves. In the maturing portal we will divide the artists into "community", "emerging" and "established", adding filters to ensure buyers can target their own interests and sophistication, and, by implication, their ability to pay.

In conclusion, I see a collaboration with you as a definite win-win-win for you, your artists and the wider community of art. It contrasts hugely with the spectre of amazon moving into the art market, and differs radically from the commercially, not quality, driven web-sites, in effect very large "buckets" for bad or indifferent art. Not only that, but with your support and guidance our collaboration will be a model for bringing other similarly first rate galleries into Artworld. And the more that join, the more effective is community and the market-place it represents. 

I hope this essay persuades you. I think it should, and certainly I waited several months reflecting on this before deciding to approach any gallery. For early adopters in particular we are looking for galleries at once excellent, thoughtful, and with the imagination to see the potential and the opportunity that Artworld represents.

The app is for iPad and iPhone (though it also works on an iPod touch) 


Chris van Dijk


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