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CULTURE
Exhibition A BookShop
Rare and limited edition books from the premier member's-only site for contemporary art
by Laura Neilson
on 07 June 2011
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Building on its model of selling affordable limited-edition artworks produced by marquee names in the art world, yesterday Exhibition A launched its newest extension, BookShop. Comprising one-of-a-kind or limited-edition monographs, the books contain signatures, inscriptions and sometimes even artist-sketched drawings inside their pages.

The membership-based site, founded last December by Half Gallery owner Bill Powers, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley and Laura Martin, introduces one or two new pieces on a weekly basis, allowing them to sell for either a limited-run of four weeks, or, in the case of limited editions, until they sell out. With every piece retailing from $100 to $500 dollars, Exhibition A's concept not only delivers an antidote to generic landscapes, but also a greater accessibility to prominent artists' works through such inexpensive pricing. Offerings have included limited-editions by Terence Koh, Olaf Breuning, Hanna Liden, Jules de Balincourt, and David LaChapelle, who created surprising collages—a departure from his typical photography—for it.

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The first batch of titles available include a copy of George Condo's 2004 "Happy Birthday," signed by the artist, with a whimsical sketch of a figure about to strangle the artist as he appears on a page spread. Chloe Sevigny's lookbook for her first capsule collection with Opening Ceremony, signed by photographer Mark Borthwick, also features drawings by Dan Colen and Spencer Sweeney.

While most of the editions land in the $150 to $750 price range, Damien Hirst's "The Bilotti Paintings" is a major exception. Retailing for $9,000, Hirst inscribed the copy with a drawing of a shark tank, a reference to his iconic sculpture, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living."

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Like the popular fashion-based site Of of a Kind, which employs a similar model by selling limited-edition designs by up-and-coming indie designers, Exhibition A fluidly combines art and commerce with editorial. Commentary and profiles on its artists, as well as interviews with collectors and influential tastemakers such as Simon de Pury, Paper magazine's Kim Hastreiter and Vice Media's Ben Dietz help round out the concept. Call it the Gilt phenomenon 2.0, expect to see more sites like this reflecting the growing consumer demand for products that are unique and accessible at once.

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