Continuing its planetary takeover, Amazon is also plotting to sell original art, maybe starting later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In Seattle, formal talks began when execs—reportedly with varying degrees of engagement in art—invited local gallery owners to a reception in an Amazon meeting room. Over wine, sodas, veggies, and dip, the execs gave their pitch and the art dealers had a range of reactions, from total rejection ("I've blocked it out of my mind") to tentative embrace ("I think it will work for certain art at a certain price point").
The price of admission to the meeting, of course, was a non-disclosure agreement, so sources have asked to remain anonymous. I spoke to five local dealers, all with galleries here in Seattle. One told me, "It was very, very corporate, and what we do is not corporate. It's like two worlds trying to collide that don't really belong together, in my opinion." Another said, "We're thinking of starting small and just seeing how it works. Initially, they don't want anything above a certain price point, and I agree with them. It's pretty experimental, and from what I hear, Jeff Bezos is very gung ho about this—that this was his idea, and that he and his wife are very interested in art and very active in the national art scene. They were spotted, apparently, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume ball."
One complication: "The return policy. If you sell on Amazon, you can return things. There's a lot of danger for damage in art." I'm told that Amazon wants dealers to assume responsibility for damage in the returns process.
But it sounds like you can look for artists represented by at least one or two local galleries on Amazon in the coming months.