Amazon Plans ‘Online Gallery’

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. (Courtesy Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. (Courtesy Getty Images)

Last week, the online retailer Amazon reached out to a number of prominent art galleries (and some not-so-prominent ones) to invite them to a meeting in New York this Wednesday where it plans to unveil a new project called the Amazon Fine Art Gallery.

The e-mail, which you’ll find in full below, was sent by James Erickson of Amazon business development and is scant on details. It mainly just invites galleries to the unveiling of the project this Wednesday, though the email does suggest that the project might hope to compete with other art vendor start-ups like Artspace and Artsy, both of which have recently received bundles in fundraising.

Mr. Erickson referred us to a company spokesman. When asked for comment, the spokesman himself was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing. The full e-mail follows:

From: Erickson, James

Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 3:42 PM
Subject: Amazon Fine Art Online Gallery Event – NYC, May 22 Reminder

Good Afternoon James,

I hope this email finds you well.

Last week you were contacted by my colleague, Angela, regarding an invitation to join Amazon in New York City for a presentation on the launch of our new Fine Art Gallery.

I want to reach out to you and see if you plan on attending our event on Wednesday, May 22nd. The details are below my signature. I am also more than happy to discuss this event and the details of Amazon’s Art Gallery more in depth with you over the phone.

Please let me know if you are planning to attend and if you would like to schedule time to talk over the phone.

Regards,

James Erickson
Business Development | Amazon Services
Email: jamee@amazon.com
2201 Westlake Avenue, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98121

This summer Amazon is planning to launch a Fine Art Gallery where customers will be able to purchase original artwork offered by a select group of invited galleries via Amazon.com. You are cordially invited to a special event in New York where we will introduce the Amazon Art marketplace to New York galleries.
We’re inviting you and a select group of your peers to join us for light snacks and refreshments on Wednesday, May 22, to learn more about connecting with new customers and driving sales on our platform. We have received overwhelming support from the galleries that have already joined the platform and we would love the opportunity to offer your gallery’s selection in the Amazon Art Gallery.

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Sun West Studios | 450 West 31st Street 10th Floor | NYC
Please RSVP by replying to this email with:
Your name
Gallery name
Your role or position at the gallery
How many people from your gallery will be attending (if applicable)
Names of others from your gallery who will be attending (if applicable)

We look forward to seeing you!

Update 5:21 p.m. Updated with response from Mr. Erickson.

Update 6:16 p.m. Turns out Hyperallergic beat us to this one, if you’re keeping score! Though obviously we weren’t working from their piece, which doesn’t feature the whole email.

Update 8:48 p.m. Just received a comment from Amazon spokesman Erik Fairleigh: “Thanks for your interest in Amazon. We have not made any announcements about Art. Stay tuned.”