Artsy’s new city guide leads art fans to galleries in six cities

The new personalised feature to navigate cities including New York, London, Hong Kong. (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: Artsy, a web marketplace for art, photography and design, is launching a GPS-based city guide to help collectors and hobbyists find museum exhibits, art fairs and gallery shows in six major art-world centres.

Using the new personalised feature to navigate cities including New York, London, Hong Kong, if users like what they see in person, they can simply pull out their phone and either purchase immediately, make an offer or inquire through Artsy.

Other city guides include Paris, Los Angeles and Berlin.

Founded in 2009, Artsy has amassed a collection of more than 1 million artworks with a network of more than 3,000 galleries, 800 museums and 80 art fairs and has made many of those works available for purchase within the app.

The new feature is about “connecting the offline discovery experience with the online purchasing, buying experience,” Fatma Collins, Artsy’s vice president of product, said in an interview. It will become available on iOS March 25.

Artsy isn’t the first to map out galleries on an app. See Saw started doing it in New York in 2014, and has since expanded to Europe and the West Coast too.

But Collins said Artsy’s extensive network is “naturally positioned to be the most up-to-date and comprehensive art world guide.”

The company has also teamed up with BMW, incorporating private collections featured in the luxury car brand’s own art guide.

For existing Artsy users, the city guide feature will display a tailored selection of artists and artworks based on their preferences.

Users will also be able to save their favourites after exploring shows either virtually or in person.

They can use the company’s augmented reality feature to place art on the walls of their own home.

Artsy charges galleries monthly subscriptions to host their art, and it also takes a commission for some of the works sold on its marketplace and through auction houses. In exchange, galleries and auction houses get access to Arty’s 2.2 million unique visitors each month.

Last year, Artsy says, sales volume on the platform surged 58% from 2017.

New York-based Artsy, launched in 2012, has raised more than US$100 million from many noteworthy names in art and technology, including Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, Larry Gagosian of the renowned Gagosian Gallery, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.