The Luxury Letter Blog


Publisher Spotlight: Art Info
August 6, 2008, 1:22 pm
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By Hibben Silvo, Editor

Each month we will be featuring luxury consumer websites, ad agencies, marketing firms and the people behind their success. This month we interviewed ARTINFO.com, one of our newest publishers. Their site is a major hub for all things art and culture related, and what’s more lux than that Dali hanging in your foyer?

It’s called culture theory. It states that culture is what separates us from other species. If by virtue of the fact that a doodle can render upwards of seven figures then this theory must hold water. ARTINFO.com is a tribute to this phenomenon we call culture, most specifically art. From widely known artists, such as Picasso, to lesser known local artists the site compiles a wealth of information on everything including events, international art news, an art market, artists’ directory and basically anything else a savvy art aficionado could ever conceive of. The site is created by Louise Blouin Media, a cultural media group that also produces other publications such as Art & Auction, Modern Painters, Culture & Travel, Gallery Guide and Museums in New York and produces art price guides.

Don’t believe me? The National Post quoted that “it’s sometimes difficult to find a high-brow use for the internet, but I think surfing the Art Info Web site to take in a round-up of fine-art gallery exhibits across the world, or to see what the latest Chinese Ming dynasty painting is selling for, would qualify as such a cultured pursuit, don’t you?” The beauty of the site is that it’s a resource for artists, collectors, and anyone with even a basic interest or knowledge of art.

ARTINFO.com took the time to answer some of our questions, check out the interview below:

Why did you launch ARTINFO.com and what has it fulfilled?

We re-launched ARTINFO.com in May 2007 because we saw a need to create a global destination for the arts with comprehensive listings of artists, museums, and galleries and the latest on-the-ground news reporting. Our audience is collectors, dealers, gallery directors/owners, and art world influencers and tastemakers.

The goal of the website re-launch was to provide our core audience, such as high-net worth collectors, with one-stop resource for arts and culture information in it’s many forms. We have exclusive features that cater to their needs. We know this is important—we have a strong user base with a high percentage of repeat visits.

The re-launch was also a new brand direction, with a completely new look and feel. We sought to address the changing needs of our audience. And through user research discovered that we could build a better product that more directly suits current arts and the art market on the internet. ARTINFO is as dynamic and global as the cultural scene it covers.

Give me an example of something your readers discovered on your site that they probably wouldn’t have known otherwise.

At the Sotheby’s Contemporary Auction sales last month, the two and a half hour sale generated a total of £94,701,550 ($188,853,831), just short of the £96.6 million pre-sale high estimate. Ten records for highest lots sold at auction for individual artists were set. All of these records are searchable in our Art Sales Index, ARTINFO’s auction lots database tool, which is free to anyone who visits ARTINFO.

The Art Sales Index is a tool that allows individuals to search lots at auction dating back to the 1920’s. Unlike some of our competitors, ARTINFO offers our database free to the public. And although used predominantly by collectors and auctions world professionals, the tool itself provides a wealth of information about artists their works of art; about historical market data, documenting the creative practice over a broad period of time.

ARTINFO is part of Louise Blouin Media—the international art publisher with strong titles such as Art+Auction, Modern Painters, Culture+Travel, Gallery Guide and the Art Sales Index and Gordon’s Data Publications. The strength of our offering is that ARTINFO reaches into all of these areas through our extensive editorial coverage, breadth of categories and depth of insider knowledge within the areas of arts and culture.

The other unique characteristic of ARTINFO and Louise Blouin Media products is the lifestyle component —there’s an awareness that important media shapes markets mindsets.

What are your goals in 2008?

ARTINFO has the unique position of having the ability to create high impact luxury opportunities by mapping the dedicated interests of our audience segments to focused areas on the website. Interest in art has grown into a cultural movement. Over 60% of museum directors cited increased attendance to art museums last year. What this means to us is that we look towards our audience and our advertisers to benefit from this expansion. We measure success by our ability to provide a fresh way to explore the arts and culture online through news, features, and arts related information.

Our goals for 2008 are to continue to build on the strengths of Louise Blouin Media print products, further expanding our online platform. We are extending the reach of our core online offerings to provide focal points for travel and auctions content, as well as meaningful contextual links amongst the depth of content we already have online. New and ongoing efforts to develop podcasts, video, and other new channels will provide a new means of delivering our content to our audience. ARTINFO is a content matrix and the possibilities for delivery are infinite.

A new energy has changed the world of art. There are record levels of investment; a heightened interest, especially from the affluent market; and a consumer mindset that prizes meaning over material. As art becomes more deeply integrated into fashion, society, and popular culture, our challenge becomes harnessing this energy into a meaningful experience for our visitors. And the internet is quickly becoming THE platform of communication.

Who is your audience?

Our highest segments of registered users are collectors, artists, and gallery owners and directors. Over 42% have a household income greater than $100,000, with 10% spending over $100,000 or more collecting art per year.

The strength of the ARTINFO audience is that we have high-net worth individuals who are not only collectors driven by the analytical aspects of the market like indices and trends, participating in the auctions world and global art fairs; but who are also passionate about the arts and the way that the arts impact humanity.

ARTINFO has a strong base in the US and the UK but reaches an international clientele with representation in all parts of the world: Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East; and Africa.