The Artist Multiple: A Collector’s Source List

Lori Zimmer
Oct 6, 2013 7:53PM

From my latest article for MutualArt.com:

Art collecting can quickly become an expensive addiction. But what do collectors do to get their art fix while waiting for their next coveted pieces to become available? Many turn to multiples and editions as a way to not only beef up their collections aesthetically, but to also infuse their passion for art to the utilitarian facets of life.

Like prints, multiples have carved a niche into the art market, many being collected with the same fervor and resale promise as fine art originals. Limited editions with smaller runs of 100 or less are generally considered more valuable than larger editions, and priced accordingly. Unlimited editions are thought of as artist designed objects, geared more toward a mass-market clientele rather than the serious collector. But what is great about editions and multiples, is that they are meant to be more accessible and fun. These often whimsical objects can lend a breath of creativity to the more functional areas of life – like kitchenware, rugs, jewelry and furniture.Many galleries and online shops tap into the art collector’s lust for more, while also appealing to the mass audience by offering lower-priced multiples to their repertoire. Buyers looking to add easy to live with pieces to their collections should look to editions as a way to round out their visions. But collectors with an eye to investment should be cautious, and investigate both the producer of the multiple and the edition size before succumbing to the lure of lower pricing. Here’s a round-up of retailers and publishers to visit to get your collection humming

.Paul Kasmin Shop

Just around the corner from the seminal gallery’s ground floor space in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, the Paul Kasmin Shop offers “lower priced” editions from their stable of blue chip artists. If you’re looking for a bargain, look elsewhere – the shop stocks mostly small edition works by hard hitters like Walton Ford, Ivan Navarro, Will Ryman and Shelter Serra. Most pieces hover in the $950-$7,500 range, with a few kitschy affordables like pool toys and beach towels from Kenny Scharf.

CultureLabel

The British retailer has partnered with galleries and cultural institutions across London to curate an online shop of artist designed multiples, editions and products. The site has recently expanded to New York, including partnerships with the Guggenheim and New Museum, bringing art goodies from two great art cities to anyone with internet access.

Grey Area

The brainchild of curator, writer and designer Kyle DeWoody and Artlog’s Manish Vora, Grey Area is an online shop with occasional pop-up retail locations. Grey Area’s mission is to offer and present pieces that may not fit the traditional gallery experience – a.k.a. what the art world may consider a “grey area.” The shop includes one-of-a-kind art, multiples and unlimited items from well-known and emerging artists. With items ranging in price from under $50 to more sophisticated works in the thousands, the shop is for art lovers who not only collect, but want to extend their visual passions to household items, jewelry and clothing.

Artware Editions

Artware Editions collaborates with living and late artists to create objects that satisfy both the art collector and the design enthusiast, at prices often under $100. The shop uniquely commissions works that are not only utilitarian and affordable, but also continue the thread of each artists’ body of work, creating a hybrid of art and function. As a bonus they also have partnerships with the estates of Sol LeWitt and Yves Klein, as well as a roster of contemporary artists like John Baldessari and Dan Colen.

Other Criteria

Co-founded by art start Damien Hirst himself, Other Criteria carries all things Hirst, from chairs to coffee cups to prints, as well as other artists including Johannes Albers, Banksy and Jasper Johns. Their editions are of the pricier variety, including a $725 unlimited edition Hirst pharmacy ashtray and an $80,800 Hirst spin-painting rug that comes in an edition of three.

Cumulus Studios

Cumulus Studios focuses on outdoor sculpture editions for the discerning collector who doesn’t mind the elements having their way with their acquisitions. Landscape designer Nathalie Karg has asked a slew of contemporary artists to translate their work into functional outdoor objects that include sculpture, textiles and functional pieces that are usually in small editions of 25 and under.  Leading artists such as Rikrit Tiravanija, Jim Drain, Rob Pruitt and Ugo Rondinone have designed benches, fountains and textiles that echo each artist’s signature style.

The Multiple Store

With a concentration on Turner Prize winning artists, The Multiple Store produces collectable editions and multiples that are meant to appreciate in value over time. The company commissions new work by contemporary British artists, to not only provide an affordable alternative for adding to one’s collection, but to also allow artists to experiment with new materials and processes. Although edition size varies, most of the commissions in the collection are under 100, often times less than 25, making each piece a viable investment.

Fuse Works

Fuse Works takes their edition and multiple venture very seriously. The online shop curates and promotes clever pieces by artists who embrace the idea of the multiple as part of their artistic discourse, rather than an element of mass production. The site generally features works by emerging artists, and has recently begun publishing their own multiples: the first being a sound piece by Jeremy Slater called “seoul” which appears as a clear vinyl record in an edition of 20 for $50.

Gagosian Shop

Located both online and on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side in New York, the Gagosian Shop weighs heavily on the gallerist’s connection to Basquiat’s legacy, hawking limited editions of the artist’s works transferred onto plates and cups of Limoges Porcelain. The shop’s collection of exquisite, yet expensive, artist designed wallpapers would add flair to any collection display – including Damien Hirst’s famous “Stations of the Cross” pill paper (available only in the store itself) and Urs Fischer’s “Drywall #1-10” design (available online for a whopping $1,500 a roll).

Bravin Lee Editions

Bringing the idea of function into the multiple, Manhattan’s Bravin Lee Programs has launched Bravin Lee Editions, a series of artist-designed rugs in collaboration with Meredith Rosen. Artists like Valerie Hegarty, Chuck Close and Jonathan Lasker transfer their signature aesthetics from wall to floor, and invite collectors to walk all over them. The hand knotted rugs are a mesh between fine art and craft, extending an artist’s oeuvre into a new realm that can also be hung traditionally on a wall, should your heart desire.

Lori Zimmer
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019