Artists and Gallerists Explain How (and Why) to Buy Art Online

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Below, a source for gliding through the cyber lands of art and commerce:

Photography

“I’d look for both quality and substance when purchasing any art, but sight unseen via a website, I’d let quality lead the way,” says Voelker of navigating the waters of e-comm photography. “In terms of smart collecting, my recommendation is to stick to things that are archival—you want it to last, whether it’s a small or large investment.” He mentions sorting out framing as soon as possible with matte UV plexiglass. “Your viewing experience will be worth the small premium, not to mention the preservation of the artwork.”

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Jack Mitchell “Disco Diva Donna Summer”, 1976 pigment print

Thanh-Khoa Tran untitled print

Moshe Brakha “Yankees, Go Home” print

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Tania View “Dressed In Blue” wall art print

Gray Malin “Prada Marfa Two Cowboys” photo

Alicia Mersy “Fatima Holding Herself”, 2021 signed limited-edition pigment print

ART FOR CHANGE

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Prints

“It’s possible to support artists and social causes at the same time, as evidenced by ART FOR CHANGE, which offers affordable editions by important contemporary artists like Melissa Brown and Summer Wheat,” says Duffy. Pomares adds that Tappan Collective is another great resource for collectors to explore without feeling intimidated by the process. “They did a limited print with one of my favorite artists, Umar Rashid,” she says. “You can purchase a print for under $500, and he is someone who has exhibited around the world and is included in the Made in LA exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.”

Melissa Brown “San Cristobal Crystal Ball”, 2021 signed limited-edition print

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Umar Rashid “Equus Cosmica” limited-edition print

Roksanda “Cerulean Swimmer” framed print

Mike Joyce “The Smiths”, 2014 limited-edition print

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Anna Leschinger “Red Horizon” textile mosaic print

Dear Ninja “Hi How Are You Cat” print

Sculptural Objects

“I think sculptures have an incredible ability to remind us of material, density and volume in ways that are grounding and physical,” says Johnson. Pieces often merge fine art and functional design. “Prospect NY is pretty sharp for a shop that partners with artists to produce more design-oriented works,” she says, pointing out that Judy Chicago has several on the site, from printed silks to “Goddess Trio”—a candle, a soap, a gold-plated pin. Also, “Hyperallergic has a great online store featuring pieces by artists like Mickalene Thomas and Louis Bourgeois.”

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Judy Chicago “Goddess Trio”

Patrick Brun “Taking Off”, 2013 sculpture

Helle Mardahl Bon Bon cocktail glass

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Kal Mansur “Kame 3-2020” sculpture

Ignacio MUV “La Certeza de lo Invisible” sculpture

Illuminations

Continuing the thread of form-meets-function, electric works double as emotional light sources. “I love 1stDibs as my furniture and decorative objects go-to,” says Pomares. New concepts utilize tech in moving images. “Azikiwe Mohammed’s Looking for Solace from Infinite Objects is an innovative take on the limited edition; a work of video art that can fit on your desk,” says Duffy. “It’s also an incredible opportunity to live with a work of art by a New York Times-lauded artist.”

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Azikiwe Mohammed “Looking for Solace” large acrylic

Annesta Le “Vibrations” warm white neon glass light, 2015

Carnevale Studio XE neon light

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Kristina Larson “Wall Flowers”, 2020 ceramic and LED sculpture

Neon Art Creations custom neon light

Vincenzo Ceccato “Indeterminacy – Original Mixed Media”, 2016

Handhelds + Wearables

“I think one of the great things about buying zines and small edition pieces from indie artists is the attention to detail,” says Voelker. “They are items usually made by the artists and meticulously crafted to share their message.” The category offers “a step into their world.” Consider Brian DeGraw’s album art for musical artists quickly, quickly’s upcoming The Long and Short of It, or Benjamin Degen’s virtual merch table of drawings-turned-postcards. In the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District, digital prints of Hope Macdonald’s paintings are hand-cut and sewn into wearable pieces.

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Spotz Pix 011: Ben Rayner portfolio

“The Long and Short of It” by Quickly, Quickly digital album

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One Of These Days “Never Heard A Word” moleskine notebook

Benjamin Degen Wave Pack postcard set

Kour Pour exhibition catalogue

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Hope Macdonald the Helena tote

Paintings

“When I saw how Tappan Collective chooses guest curators to put together collections of works, I obviously was drawn to Maya Erskine’s picks,” says Johnson of the Pen15 creator-slash-producer-slash-actor’s selects, including Alexis Arnold’s sold out Crystallized Books series and Ali Beletic’s Material and the Sensual painting. She adds that “GIFC (Got It for Cheap) has a cool platform, it features shows by emerging curators and artists—the works are available for purchase online, so you can buy up really nice pieces and skip over some of the high fees that a gallery takes.”

Ali Beletic “Materialism and the Sensual”, 2020 painting

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Taylor Stewart “Desire”, 2021 acrylic

Sizuo Chen “2020CM: Ivory Ball” watercolor

Ruben Toledo “Vogue Espana X 1995” watercolor

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Kyong Lee “Eckige Masse 95”, 2020 abstract painting

René Goorman “Voltige” ink drawing

Mixed + New Media

For an interesting mix of media, Pomares likes Gallerie Perrie. “This site is a wonderful go-to as there are always fresh and exciting pieces by a wide range of contemporary artists at a variety of price points for a collector,” she says. Duffy respects the logic of artist Mat Gasparek’s Flat Rate Contemporary for emerging artists’ works since “the parameter is that they must fit in a UPS flat rate envelope. It very much follows in the tradition of other mail art projects, from Charles White to Ray Johnson.” And Swopes encourages due diligence for digital. “Some art may seem pretty, but it may be stolen,” she warns with a laugh. “So, do your research.”

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Nia Winslow “In Waiting” paper collage

Atlaude “Fluoraffe” digital art

Jihyun Han “Uncertain Things (Phase 2) #7” photograph

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Mimi Young “Tuesday2” acrylic

Molly McCracken “Personal Stratigraphy Map #7”mixed media collage

$200

FLAT RATE CONTEMPORARY

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Montana Colors limited-edition “after Jean-Michel Basquiat” spray paint can, c.2017

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