High Art, Low Cost

Anya believed that she could paint the air. (She could not.)

Big art, small payments from Uprise Art

If you’ve ever walked into someone’s apartment and seen a pickled cow, there are really only two possible conclusions. One, the owner is crazy and sprinting out of there is a sound idea. Or, two, that’s a Damien Hirst, and this person’s incredibly wealthy (and possibly crazy).

If the folks at Uprise Art have a say, bottled bovines (or at least less-clinical contemporary art) will no longer be the preserve of the trust fund set. The year-old startup offers leased art from emerging artists for a fixed monthly fee of $50, plus a small install and delivery charge. Lease payments can be applied to a later purchase.

Uprise is already working with a few hundred clients, founder Tze Chun told us. “One surprise has been the target customer,” Chun said. “I started thinking it would be people in finance and consulting. It turns out they only make up 40% of my customers. There are just as many from startups and the creative community.”

While the model aims to make art-collecting more accessible for the masses, Uprise has garnered interest from rarefied circles as well. On a recent install, the team noticed a pricey piece in the same room where their piece was being hung – an original Hirst (though not one bobbing in formaldehyde).

Browse the Uprise gallery online or in person at Chelsea Market, where work from four Uprise artists is installed through the holidays.

Now go forth (and chip away).

Nitty Gritty:

12: Length in feet of Hirst’s tiger-shark-in-formaldehyde piece

$198M: Amount fetched for Hirst’sBeautiful Inside My Head Forever, a record for a one artist auction

22: Buildings in the Chelsea Market complex


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