Stephen Petrey


Published 2 years ago

A long time ago, in a state, not too far away… my girlfriend, my buddy Zac, and whole host of contributors — built Adhoc. Initially it began as a sort of contemporary artist database. Filled with interviews and editorials. We had submissions out the whazzoo and it was a lot of fun meeting new artists, and we even put together a couple of shows.

But after a while, each of us decided to abandon the project. Not out of malice or anything, but to focus on other things that began to take shape. Such as graduate school, moving to new places and among other things, building new web projects. Life goes on, ya know?

We left Adhoc online for posterity, of course. What do you take us for, we’re not monsters!

From left to right: Me, Leah, and Zac, 2015.

I often times can’t help but think about what Adhoc could have become. When things began to wind down, I pondered about the ripe for disruption area of art galleries. Galleries desperately need something between Basecamp, Shopify and LinkedIn. Something public, but something private. A common e-commerce framework they can all get behind, shared between gallerists. Every single gallery manages inventory and their web presence differently.

Folio, by Artsy is a close winner. But I feel like it misses the mark for two reasons:

  • No e-commerce solution for artists or galleries
  • Not really a network

Recently, Zac showed me Foundwork. It’s a neat place. It looks like Foundwork is in the very early stages of building a network amongst artists. Anyone can signup to get in contact with artists. There’s nothing useful here for galleries apart from artist discovery. But if there’s any semblance of what I wanted Adhoc to look like down the road — this is it:

While there’s no e-commerce solution in place, contacting the artist is built-in. Furthermore, Artsy has a writeup and interview with the founder, Adam Yokell:

“What if there was a tool that helped artists become more visible to an interested base of curators, gallerists, and academics?” Yokell tells me, over coffee on a recent morning in Brooklyn. And further, he adds, “What if curators and gallerists could search more broadly—but still deliberately—for an artist or artwork that resonates with their interests, or helps to develop their program, or relates to an exhibition they’re curating?”

I think this could really be the start of something cool for artists (and moreso for galleries). It looks like this network is built upon Rails too. Which I totally endorse. Super rad. My only question is, will there be artist > gallery associations down the line? For example, is an artist becomes represented by a gallery, does the profile reflect that? For now, I don’t think so.

I don’t know if they have a roadmap for this artist network, but I do know building associations between two models is simple and efficient. A possible example:

class Gallery < ApplicationRecord
  has_many :artists, dependent: :destroy
class Artist < ApplicationRecord
  belongs_to :gallery

I’d love to see this product evolve into into a network that whets the appetites of both gallerists and artists. Kind of like what Dribbble accomplished for designers and agencies when they announced Teams. It seems that right after that, Dribbble really took off.

Looking forward to checking back in with Foundwork down the road.