Computer science student turned Artsy chief
‘I assumed there would be a website with all the world’s art on it.’ Such is the outlook of a digital native (Cleveland is in his late twenties). For a Princeton computer-science student, discovering such a gap can only mean one thing: opportunity. So began Artsy, with Cleveland gaining an impressive range of early investors, including Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Google’s Eric Schmidt, the collector Dasha Zhukova and the gallerist Larry Gagosian, who together pitched in $14.5 million, with Marc Glimcher as an adviser.
Besides being a database of works from more than 400 foundations and public collections, the website also hosts work by commercial galleries for sale – and major galleries are using the platform, perhaps drawn by the distinctive feature of individual pages for each dealer. Many have tried to crack the online art market before; most have failed. With its sleek design, commissioned editorial texts and the partnerships it has struck, Cleveland might just have succeeded with Artsy.