The story appears on

Page D4

June 25, 2019

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Benchmark

Do you want art on your walls but can’t decide what? Help is at hand

Before moving to Shanghai, Eric Reithler-Barros was a music industry executive in New York.

He managed business development at the now-defunct file sharing platform LimeWire and was global vice president at SFX Entertainment, where he oversaw the acquisition of a US$1.6 billion music festival empire.

Now, as the CEO of Shanghai-based media firm Fold Group, the firm’s latest venture is a foray into the visual arts — Art Revolver, a company that aims to upend how Chinese consume and purchase art.

By employing a simple survey to capture basic preferences, apartment layout and budget, Art Revolver’s curators hand-pick prints, paintings and photographs that will be delivered to the walls of subscribers and rotated monthly or quarterly.

One member of the founding team of curators is Cortney Lederer, a curator and instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“Art Revolver is combining our love and passion for visual arts with what we see as an opportunity to disrupt the traditional distribution and consumption system of artwork, which are art galleries,” says Reithler-Barros.

Reithler-Barros, 44, and his business partner Jasmine Li, 40, a renowned Chinese DJ and former owner of three Shanghai nightclubs, have invested nearly half a million dollars in the project.

Art Revolver targets clients such as recent college graduates on limited budgets, expats in serviced apartments and wealthy families looking to try before they buy. The company also works with commercial clients to liven up lobbies and dining spaces.

The company’s first revolving exhibits were launched in Shanghai in May and can be found at WeWork Yunnan Road, all three Ocean Grounds restaurant locations and the 9Clouds taiji studio on Xiangyangnan Road.

All of Art Revolver’s artwork is insured, and customers are required to make a refundable deposit based on their price tier.

Subscriptions range from 200 yuan (US$29) per month, targeting art students, to more than 7,000 yuan per month — something of a “try before you buy” service for businesses and higher-end consumers.

At higher price tiers, the company sends a curator to clients’ homes to get to know their tastes and inspect home layouts.

The company is focused on anything mountable or hangable, but sculptures may be introduced in the future.

Curators have access to originals and reproductions, watercolors, oil paintings, photography, mixed media, ink-wash and calligraphy of many styles.

“We want to bring more color and artwork into people’s lives in a way that’s easy, affordable and not daunting,” says Li.

According to the company’s research, the primary reason people often change their minds on artwork purchases is indecision.

Leading auction houses such as Sotheby’s have also had to deal with Chinese buyers reneging on winning bids. Both Reithler-Barros and Li believe that Art Revolver’s business model solves the issue of indecision and will contribute to China’s maturing art market.

Working with various types of suppliers on the mainland, Art Revolver also provides a means of nurturing individual artists. When a piece is leased or purchased through the company’s WeChat mini program, part of the money goes directly to the artist who created it.

Every piece has a price tag and can be purchased instead of being returned to the revolving collection.

“Nobody has really ever done this before,” Reithler-Barros says of the company. “We just have to try it and see how the market reacts.”


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend