Is Curating Art Reserved For The Wealthy?

Is Curating Art Reserved For The Wealthy?

“We believe everyone needs art,” says Jen Bekman’s online art prints site, 20×200. Their “formula” is simple:

With that, 20×200’s goals are simple. “We want everyone to collect art, and we want to enable an economy that allows more artists to make a living by making work,” says Jen Bekman on 20×200’s website.

We’re excited to announce that Jen Bekman will be speaking at Luminance – PhotoShelter’s conference featuring thought leaders to discuss the direction of photography today. Jen’s 20-minute talk will focus on that simple notion that, in her opinion, “Curation Counts.”

“My business arose out of frustration,” says Jen in an interview with Forbes. “I realized that the reason I had never bought art was that no one had ever tried to sell it to me.”

Jen realized that many willing art buyers were also intimidated by the art scene and believed it was a privileged reserved for the wealthy. So in 2007, Jen founded 20×200 to bring affordable art by great artists to the masses. Thus far, 20×200 has released limited editions prints by over 275 emerging artists, ranging from photographers to illustrators to print-makers.

An overview of the photography currently available for sale on 20x200.

Making the art buying process comfortable and intuitive was one piece of Jen’s two-part goal. The other was to support emerging artists and help them sustain themselves. 20×200 actually works with artists to help select works suitable for printing and sale, plus they cover all upfront costs (including printing) so the artist isn’t responsible for any costs before a sale. Then the proceeds are split 50/50.

Jen Bekman also sponsors the international photography competition, Hey, Hot Shot! which provides an ongoing platform for photographers to receive exposure, support, and recognition. Each year, one photographer receives $10,000, a full-length solo exhibitions at Jen Bekman Gallery, and representation from the gallery. Beyond the grand prize, Hey, Hot Shot! also features one contender every weekday during the competition on its Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter pages.

Winners from the Hey, Hot Shot! 2011 competition.

The exposure that 20×200 brings to both buyers and artists is a welcomed relief in a competitive and sometimes pretentious market. The opportunity for exposure and, of course, sales is exciting – and we’re looking forward to hearing Jen speak at Luminance about how projects like hers are changing the direction of photography today.

Jen says that “Curation Counts” – but why? Find out at Luminance 2012.

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