Shane Ferro
Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

MARKET WATCH: Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

20×200 Goes Offline Suddenly as Rumors of CEO Jen Bekman’s Departure Spread

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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.

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Comments

  1. I had the misfortune of meeting Ms. Bekman at The Lean Startup Conference a couple years, one of the most abrasive and self important people I’ve ever met … no big surprise here.

  2. It is unfortunate to hear about 20×200. They have a great selection. In the meantime, http://www.artfromconcentrate.com can be the place to find affordable art!

  3. @andrew what a perfectly dick thing to say about a person you’ve only met in passing and in regards to a subject whose details are sketchy at best in the article.

    I’ve known Jen for years and she’s neither abrasive nor self-important.

  4. I feel like I’ve been ripped off by 20X200. I ordered a print more than a month ago and have not received it. They did take the money out of my account the same day I ordered.

    I have contacted them 3 times by e-mail at support@20×200.com and received one form letter from them. Twice I asked where is my print and once I asked them to refund my money.

  5. I’m in the same situation as Tim above: I ordered a print on January 16th, they charged my credit card immediately—and since then I’ve only received a couple of form letters.

    The latest one, sent today, is an exercise in how NOT to inspire confidence in your disgruntled customers. Addressed only to XX, it starts with: “20×200 is in the midst of a major transition, and it’s been a rocky one.” The letter ends with: “The company is in the midst of a complex situation that has demanded some very creative problem solving.” In between is some nonsense about how they looked into my order (XX’s order?) and are working with their printer to expedite it.

    I don’t care about how creatively they’re addressing their problems; I just want my money back.

  6. by JIll Krupnik

    I am also in the same situation as above, and while I have heard back a few times it has been devoid of any real information. Extremely frustrating as they took the luxury of charging me.

  7. [...] 20X200 abruptly shut down at the end of this past January, a lot of buyers were left out in the cold with no information [...]

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