Phillips Is Going Into the Direct Art Sales Business, Commissioning Monthly Drops From Artists and Collaborators


Phillips is launching a new platform that will see the auction house partner with individual artists and sell specially created, editioned works directly to buyers. Dubbed Dropshop, the platform will offer limited edition releases of primary-market art and objects in partnership with artists, collaborators and brands.

“Dropshop is the first and only platform in the international auction sphere that partners directly with working artists, disrupting the traditional, long-held dynamics between the primary and secondary markets,” according to a statement from Phillips.

The auction house will collaborate with designated partners on every step, from conception to curation all the way to fabrication and promotion. The items will be available for a limited time through a “buy now” e-commerce model on Phillips’ website. “Offerings are exclusive…once they’re gone, they’re gone,” according to the statement. There will be a new drop and a new collaborator each month.

The first artist queued up to take part is Australian born, Brooklyn-based artist Cj Hendry, famous for her hyperreal drawings and elaborate installations. She has produced a sculptural object in the form of a red crown for the first drop.

“We’re always looking for new ways to engage with collectors and really respond to the impulses we see happening in the contemporary market at large,” said Amanda Lo Iacono, Philllips head of auctions, in a phone interview with Artnet News. “The concept of Dropshop was really something that we were seeing demand for, both from collectors and artists/collaborators. This is way to connect with each other without some of the noise.”

Cj Hendry, Crown Image courtesy the artist and Phillips.

Cj Hendry, Crown. Image courtesy the artist and Phillips.

And there’s an added bonus for the artists who participate: If a buyer resells a work through the Phillips platform, the artist will be entitled to a resale royalty pegged at 3 percent of the sale price, which is commensurate with the resale royalty rate in the U.K. Terms of the revenue and profit sharing, however, are confidential.

Asked about the size and price points of Hendry’s drop, Lo Iacono said “Cj is doing a sculptural edition of 100, she has cheekily said to her following that the prices are between $5 and $5 million.”

The sequence of the offering is also highly specific owing to Hendry’s emphasis on the experiential nature of her practice, Lo Iacono said. She will officially take over the Dropshop platform on August 14, with an “activating” experience happening at Phillips headquarters at 432 Park Avenue on the 19th, and the object dropping on August 20.

“What’s really great about this platform is we can really act as real partners here,” Lo Iacono said. “We’re excited about finding ways to have artists participate in their success.”


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