– By Loren Olson –
Something’s missing on the wall above your couch. You’re pretty sure it’s a de Kooning, but rent being what it is you won’t be hanging one any time soon. Don’t fret! Exhibition A is here to help.
Founded by Bill Powers, Cynthia Rowley, and Laura Martin last November, Exhibition A makes art by sought-after contemporary artists available to the public. The website provides its members free access to works by marquee-name photographers and painters for as little as $100. That means you could be one of a few lucky people to own a Terrence Koh or David LaChapelle for less than you’d pay for a dress.
By making limited-edition prints, Exhibition A keeps pieces covetable while taking the price point to an approachable level. Each archival-ink on canvas print is approved by the artist, then stamped or personally signed and numbered. A certificate of authenticity confirms that your print is the real deal. The editions may be limited in number (often 50) or by time, so there’s a scramble to get your fix before it sells out. In addition to telling you a bit about each piece, Exhibition A provides artist bios, interviews with collectors, and a daily art blog.
For those willing to invest a bit more, the book shop is a real treat. There you’ll find artist’s books by George Condo, Rene Ricard, and Jeff Koons, each with a doodle or drawing by the artist. Cofounder Bill Powers is an avid book collector himself, explaining that it’s much easier to get his hands on a rare book than a rare painting. Approachability has been a cornerstone of Power’s artistic career. A member of the board at RxArt, a nonprofit that arranges for famous artists to create works for hospitals, he also co-founded LES’ Half Gallery, a tiny venue that hosts emerging talent. He is best known for following in the footsteps of his wife Cynthia Rowley as as a judge on a reality TV show, she on Project Runway, he on Bravo’s Work of Art,.
If the Exhibition A concept seems a bit familiar, you’ve probably shopped on Gilt Group. The weekly sales and members-only aspects are two big giveaways, but the real connection is more basic: making some of the finer things more available and moving them at top speed. The front page of Exhibition A’s site cycles through several cool interiors. Each room belongs to different people, but all have a print from Exhibition A, with the focus on the piece in the home rather than the work itself. “Why just decorate when you can collect?” The site queries. Exhibition A lands squarely between the two—with a $20 credit for each purchase by friends you’ve referred. It’s not so much art collecting as decorating with a real art world twist, but its a close to the former as most of us can get.
Loren Olson is a frequent guest contributor to OliviaPalermo.com. She spends her free time working on Le Magazine, an independent fashion publication.