You know your way around contemporary art. You can walk into a gallery and talk that art theory discourse with the best of them. You attend auctions and know a good price for a small Peter Doig canoe painting or some of Lisa Milroy’s shoes. Even so, even for experts like you, contemporary art can be an opaque world that seems to poorly serve the individual collector of more modest means. Which makes new contemporary art website Manifold Editions something of a godsend.
Launched in November 2011, it sells limited-edition, high-quality signed prints that you can browse at your leisure. It offers prints costing up to £3,000 and the whole process is transparent, accessible and easy. You can buy what you think will look good on your walls, not what you think will treble in price if the artist gets picked for the next Biennale.
‘This is for people who want to live with contemporary art, not for collectors who want to stick an investment in storage,’ says James Booth-Clibborn, the driving force behind Manifold Editions. The company distributes the prints of other suppliers and also commission and print works itself by the best known of the YBAs and a range of international contemporary artists.
Quality is the key here and Booth-Clibborn has the background to provide it. For the last ten years he’s been at the art and design publisher Phaidon and before that worked with his father Edward's high-end art publisher Booth-Clibborn Editions. ‘I’ve been involved in the printing process for 20-odd years, and never tire of pushing the production process ever further,’ he says.
The website, designed by British graphic design behemoth Why Not Associates, features works by artists that include Anish Kapoor, Gavin Turk, Sam Taylor-Wood, Damien Hirst as well as the aforementioned Doig and Milroy.
For nervous online art buyers, Manifold Editions is also offering a chance to see the works close up this month. Booth-Clibborn has opened a pop-up store in the Front Room at St Martins Lane hotel, London. On show until 27 May, the event marks the launch of the company’s second commission by British artist Marc Quinn, comprising editions of a series of four works, including silkscreen prints of his iconic sculpture of Kate Moss in a yoga pose. Other artists include Gary Hume, Elizabeth Magill and 2011 Turner Prize nominee George Shaw.
New York and Köln pop-ups are also in the pipeline, and the company also has a presence at the London Affordable Art Fair, marking the first time in a very long while that some of these international big hitters have had the word ‘affordable’ anywhere near their names.