Artspace eyes global art market, names Russian collector Maria Baibakova Strategic Director

At 27, Maria Baibakova is adding another entry to an already impressive resume.

In a bid to expand its global reach, Artspace.com, an online marketplace for contemporary art sales, revealed on 19 February 2013 that it has appointed Russian collector Maria Baibakova as Strategic Director. The move highlights a trend towards the sale of art online art.

Maria Baibakova, new Strategic Director of Artspace. Image courtesy Nikolay Zverkov.

Maria Baibakova, new Strategic Director of Artspace. Image courtesy Nikolay Zverkov.

In a press release sent out by Artspace on 21 February 2013 , Baibakova (27) says,

Over the last nine years my mission has been to support artists and the platforms that empower them. I see Artspace.com as a new and, importantly, viable model to achieve these goals by opening artists, galleries and cultural institutions up to new audiences, both in my native Russia and around the globe.

Art world “wunderkind

A renowned contemporary art collector, Baibakova founded the Moscow non-profit Baibakov Art Projects in 2008, has worked as an advisor to Art Dubai and is currently studying for an M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. In her new post as Strategic Director, Baibakova will be charged with expanding Artspace’s network of museums, cultural institutions, galleries, artists, publishers and art fairs. She will also be expected to expand the site’s online inventory, which currently stands at USD100 million and which the company hopes to double in the coming twelve months, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Global art marketplace

Founded in 2011 by Catherine Levene and Christopher Vroom, Artspace allows collectors to purchase contemporary art from galleries, museums and similar institutions with the click of a mouse. Buyers browse works priced from a few hundred dollars to USD150,000, sourced from the likes of New York’s Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums and White Cube in London. The online platform gives buyers across the globe access to works that might otherwise only be accessible from brick-and-mortar fairs and auctions. In 2012, Artspace sold works to collectors in 28 countries worldwide.

Collectors can read interviews with artists and keep up with gallery news on Artspace, as well as buying works. Image courtesy Artspace.

Collectors can read interviews with artists and keep up with gallery news on Artspace, as well as buying works. Image courtesy Artspace.

Online art sales increasing

Sites such as Saffronart, Artsy and Paddle8 mirror Artspace’s success in attracting online sales, and auction house Christie’s is running a live online bidding platform to accompany real-world sales. The house also plans to hold over thirty online-only auctions in 2013, compared to seven in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Interviewed by Artspace’s own online magazine, Baibakova highlighted the advantages of an online marketplace for artists as well as collectors,

For artists, additional presence on the web is extremely important because it creates a much wider exposure to a greater number of art appreciators and collectors. … I’m very interested in making Artspace more global in the sense of being more globally present – representing artists from more locations around the world. I think there is a lot of room for growth – there are many under-served markets and countries where Artspace could create a lot of value for the various stakeholders in the art world.

Although founders Levene and Vroom declined to discuss overall revenue with The Wall Street Journal, museum-related sales alone are said to have reached USD1.5 million in 2012. The company hope that Baibakova’s appointment will continue to increase revenue by building international relationships.

 CN/KN/HH

Related Topics: art investment, auctions, art and the internet

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