a PAW web exclusive column
Buying art in the cyberage is easy, and the selection is great
By Rob Mackay '89
are no lines at Kristina Baldwin Larson '93's exhibition space.
Patrons can talk loudly or even touch the merchandise if they please.
And their feet will never get tired. One viewing section is jam-packed
with paintings, while in another, drawings predominate. Explore
a little harder, and chambers full of photography, sculptures, ceramics,
prints, jewelry, and even mixed media come to view.
to give the public a fast and easy way to locate and/or buy original
artwork. The Internet site also serves as an easy way for virtual
virtuosos to peddle their pieces to the public. And if there's any
interest, the potential purchaser can email the artist or schedule
an appointment to see the desired item at Larson's gallery space
in New York City. Prices range from $80 to $10,000.
"What I really like
is that my site provides the opportunity for emerging artists to
be discovered," says Larson, a history of science major who
worked as a docent at the Art Museum while at Princeton. "I've
got a lot of talent up there right now, [more than 50 artists] and
the list keeps growing."
Similar to a real time,
real world gallery, Larson charges sellers a rental fee and takes
a small commission for each purchase. But free of charge, the site
posts reviews by professional curators and serves as an information
center for what's going on at museums, galleries, and art-related
educational programs. Larson, who lives with her husband, Philip
'92, and infant son Connor in Hoboken, New Jersey, focuses on the
New York area, but she plans to expand into other urban areas in
Just a year old, ArtAdvocate
has already attracted major media attention. The site has been written
up in Forbes, Working Woman, AlleyCat News, and New York Lawyer
as well as being featured on a Fox News broadcast and an Oxygen
Media program. The hype has led to at least one consulting jobs:
Larson was recently hired by a London company to help establish
an annual contemporary art fair in New York.
Larson also helped organize
a silent auction and scotch-tasting at the Princeton Club of New
York in October 2000. Now she hopes to do similar events with other
Ivy League alumni groups, supervising fundraisers, and even giving
guided walking tours of some of Gotham's hopping art districts.
"The site has evolved a bit and taken on its own personality,"
says Larson, who is quick to admit that her talent is not in creating
art, but in appreciating it. "But it's something that I love
to do. Whether it grows bigger, or even if it stays small, I'll
And as she learns the
ropes of the Internet and art worlds, she's noticing that her own
taste is changing. "I used to be fond of representational work
above all else," she says. "Now I'm more adventurous.
And I've become one of my best customers. We need a bigger house
now to store all the art I've bought."
Rob MacKay, is an editor
at Timesnewsweekly, a weekly newspaper in Queens, New York. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.