With the arrival of Facebook in 2004, a new frontier for communications and interpersonal relationships was established. With many in favor – and no less against – the Social Network stands up today with more than 700 million registered users. As a result, Social Networks have become a standard in today’s world, and many leading industries already count on their own niche Social Network serving a smaller, or more specific social group.
ArtKabinett.com is a social network geared exclusively to fine art collectors with thousands of registered users and growing. Its creator, Dr. Jeff Gelblum, is a leading Miami neurologist with a busy private practice. He is also a collector of Modernism who has served on the host committees of the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), as well as Art Basel Miami Beach.
For the last two years, Dr. Gelblum has dedicated himself to develop and maintain ArtKabinett.com just to see it grow. MAG Magazine is pleased to have a conversation with him about the odds of exploring this concept among one of the most private social groups that ever existed: art collectors.
FA: Artkabinett.com is online as we speak. Can you please tell us about how this idea was born, and why?
JG: A group of international collector friends and I were enjoying some drinks at the conclusion of Art Basel Miami Beach. We were lamenting the fact that we could not view and share our recent art fair acquisitions, and future activities during the upcoming year. We decided to create an online interactive platform to facilitate this unmet need for collector interaction. The system allows anyone, anywhere to upload a collected work of art by simply entering the artist’s name, genre, date of creation, medium, etc. This information is then automatically data based and search engine optimized. It allows collectors to link up and share their common interests. We are extremely user friendly.
FA: What can a collector actually do on ArtKabinett.com?
JG: Anyone who enjoys collecting art is invited to join completely free of charge. Once subscribed, a member provides a face photo, enters their individual collector name (or pseudonym if they prefer a greater degree of online anonymity), and begins to upload JPEGs of their independently collected artworks. No fancy camera work is required. Most of our users take a cell phone snap shot.
The website also invites the registration of other personal information such as birthdays, collection focus, etc – but to assure privacy, this is never mandatory.
Members are invited to initiate Active Forum blogs; submit art happenings, videos, and calendar events. The daily homepage news feature – AK Files – offers updates in our fast-paced art world. These entries are a global resource of up the minute art information for users everywhere.
A continuing influx of member uploads, interactive blog threads, and content contributions assures a constantly evolving and ever-changing organic process – much like artwork, itself. Additional fun features include recent art auction prices, art quizzes, and member profiles.
FA: Most of us coming from the 20th century may still consider art collecting a private activity. A social network where collectors share images and information about themselves still seems pretty odd, even for the 21st century. Do you think new technologies and smart electronic devices are having an impact on how art is appreciated and collected these days?
JG: Art collectors are a very proud group. They enjoy sharing their collections with other collectors, and love to experience new trends and artworks. Our platform enables art collectors everywhere the opportunity to share what’s “hanging on their walls”. From Mumbai to Miami, you can make a new art friend and enjoy a virtual visit of an independent collection. Europeans – typically more private in their social interactions – have eagerly embraced our network. Overseas collectors constitute over 50% of our online community.
FA: I’ve noted that many artists are also registering at ArtKabinett.com. How do you see the fact that living artists are also part of the network?
JG: We invite all art enthusiasts to join our free interactive community. Artists, as part of that group, are welcome to freely upload their own creations, as well as, other collected artists who inspire them. I have never met an artist who is not an avid collector of other artworks.
FA: The art market is being redefined by the art fairs proliferation. Art collectors are their target market. Do you think the role of the art collector within the art world is being redefined as well?
JG: Until the launch of our specific social network, art collectors had no independent method of communication and sharing. Auction houses and galleries have their websites and openings; museums and art fairs have their venues and exhibition halls. Our website offers the savvy collector a new worldwide platform of exposure and interaction. Our content is geared always to the needs of the independent collector. Now, you can find an art colleague from around the corner or across the globe. Indeed, our members have made many newfound friends and discovered many new artworks through our network.
FA: What’s in the future for ArtKabinett.com?
JG: Our network changes daily: fresh content, new members, endless art uploads. The face of our website is different each day due to collector involvement and interaction. Our mobile “app” version is great for travelers and iPad users. In addition to fantastic parties and social get-togethers, we will soon enable art collectors everywhere the chance to safely and securely buy, sell, and trade their art online via “Kabinett Exchange”. Enabling art lovers from every continent the opportunity to transact as well as interact will be a significant focus this year. Independent collectors will now be able to leverage the interactive powers of the Internet to find other enthusiasts, who may wish to view, buy or sell their tiny sculpture or priceless Picasso – all with the click of a computer mouse.