If you’re looking to buy an affordable print from 20×200 this afternoon, you’re out of luck. At around 1:30pm, the website, which specializes in affordable artist-produced editions, went offline. The outage coincides with the rumored departure of founder and CEO Jen Bekman and her staff of 18. It is unclear when, and in what form, 20×200 will resume.
Under Bekman, 20×200 brought in over $15 million in cumulative revenue and produced more than 200,000 prints by over 200 artists, includingLawrence Weiner and William Wegman. In 2009 — two years after the launch — Bekman received $825,000 in venture capital. In another round of financing in 2010, 20×200 earned an additional $2 million. Among the investors were Tony Conrad, a partner at the firm True Ventures and a current board member, as well as David Mahoney, former CEO of iMcKesson LLC and current board director, according to the website CrunchBase. Conrad did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiry about the outage and rumored changes at 20×200.
As those familiar with the start-up world know, it isn’t unheard of for founders to be dismissed from the companies they built. (In 2010, TechCruch ran an article entitled, “How Not to Get Fired from Your Own Company,” noting that Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985.) It may be rarer that the entire staff — not just the CEO — departs, as is whispered to be the case at 20×200. Meanwhile, ARTINFO is also hearing rumors — currently unconfirmed — that Bekman is in conversations with potential backers to put together an offer to buy the company back.
A representative for Bekman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The website for Jen Bekman Gallery on the Lower East Side, which focuses on emerging artists, including several whose work was also available on 20×200, is still up and running, as is the website for her international photography competition Hey, Hot Shot!
Check back here for updates.
— Julia Halperin
This post originally appeared on ARTINFO’s news blog, In The Air. Updates will be added to the original post.
Tags: Art & Technology