Paddle8 is the innovative online art destination currently debuting two new exhibitions, both physical and virtual, in Cologne and Mexico City.
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Following up on their successful preview at New York’s recent 2012 Armory Show – one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world – Paddle8 in collaboration with NADA Cologne and Zona Maco (Mexico City) are bringing entire fairs online and offering members of the Paddle8 community the opportunity to preview, reserve and acquire works before the actual fairs open. The NADA Cologne online preview began on April 11th and Zona Maco on April 16th. Excited by the prospects, i-D online spoke to Paddle8 founders Alexander Gilkes and Aditya Julka about their company, and how it’s bringing a VIP (that’s Viewing In Private) experience to internet savvy collectors.
What is the mission of Paddle8? Paddle8 aims to enhance access for a global collecting community to the world’s leading art galleries, museums, foundations and fairs, via streamlined technology, insider opinions, expert curation and automated white glove services such as shipping, insurance, installation and payment.
What distinguished Paddle8 from other Internet sites that are entering, or that have already entered the contemporary art sales space? Paddle8 is the only site on which collectors can have a complete virtual acquisition experience, from the educational experience of the editorial, to the curated offering of works from leading galleries such as Marianne Boesky and Gagosian, to the ability to purchase the work.
You’ve recently announced some interesting partnerships. Can you talk about those a bit? We recently received investment from Mousse Partners, which is affiliated with the owners of a major luxury brand, and Founder Collective, which has made successful investments in the likes of Uber, Hunch, Svpply and Vimeo. This investment and mentorship has enabled us to bolster our technology teams and focus on product development. As for business partnerships, we’ve been fortunate to work with many leading museums such as LA MOCA, whose Spring benefit auction we hosted on Paddle8, whereby our members could bid on works that are usually only accessible to the guests of the event. We have the 150 anniversary auction for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) opening on Paddle8 this week.
Paddle8 bills itself as “a new destination for examining, understanding, and acquiring new artworks.” How are you successfully accomplishing this? The examination is allowed free of time and geographic constraints and the pressures of the physical world, as collectors access the inner sanctums of highly respected galleries remotely and explore the works that they have for sale. The understanding is supported by our editorial voice, which is in the format of the curated exhibitions and allows collectors to browse pieces assembled by authoritative collectors such as artist Marina Abramović, actor Robin Williams or writer Glenn O’Brien. We also offer artist spotlights, allowing collectors to see intimate portraits of the artists in their studios or to reference archival works.
How would you describe your members? Our members are an eclectic bunch, usually intrepid spirits and typically aesthetically rigorous, fun and both passionate and curious about collecting. Today most of our collectors hail from the US, and UK with Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, China and Brazil following suit.
NADA Cologne is now live at Paddle8.com and runs until April 24th. Zona Maco runs until April 29th, and both physical fairs are now happening in Cologne and Mexico City, respectively.
Text: Ricky Lee
Images from left: ‘Crypt, 2011′ (left) and ‘Mutual Core, 2011′ (right) by Shannon Finley, courtesy Silverman Gallery / ‘Pulse Spiral, 2008-12′ by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, courtesy Galería OMR/ ‘Skyline, 2009-11′ by Mounir Fatmi, courtesy Galería OMR/ ‘Black Fish, 2012′ by Alan Reid, courtesy Lisa Cooley Gallery/ ’Song 2010′ by Maha Saab, courtesy ltd los angeles.