Artsy's Robert Lenne predicts the future of art

Backing Carter Cleveland in this endeavour in "making all the world's art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection" is Robert Lenne, a product designer-turned Artsy’s Head of Product, who's steering the world's hottest art company. Artworks managed a few Q&As with an incredibly busy yet humble man.

3 min read

Who are you?
I lead product development at a startup in New York called Artsy. Artsy is an online platform for learning about and collecting art. I originally hail from Sweden and worked at different design companies in Europe and the US before landing at Artsy.
Where are you and why?
I’m in NYC because it’s one of the most interesting cities in the world to me — bringing together technology, business, art, and culture.
What are you wearing?
Normally, 50 shades of gray.
What does your social media diet consist of?
A lot of Instagram, where I tend to see square images of artist studios, tiny cabins, people making ceramics, video art, and small apartments with too many plants.
What does your art diet consist of?
Much of it is from osmosis, spending much time during the day on Artsy, browsing artists and reading our editorial material.
Art is best consumed?
My favorite way of experiencing art is as part of a trip or art pilgrimage. I love going to Dia Beacon and the Storm King in Hudson Valley, and some of my fondest art memories are from visiting Naoshima in the south of Japan and staying over in James Turell's House of Light in Tokamachi.
What makes an art venue attractive to you?
I’m a sucker for epic scale and when art is very intentionally coupled with the environment. If it also happens to be in a secluded, tranquil area, I’m at my happiest.
You had to marry an artist or a business person, who would you pick?
Does one exclude the other?
Would art ever become as everyday as fashion or music?
I think it’s possible. How people relate to art is probably going to be different from how they relate to fashion and music, in the sense that it serves a different purpose in people's’ lives. One analogy is how many more people are interested in food and the chefs behind it than they were 10 years ago. After going through 3 seasons of Chef Table on Netflix, the recent release of Cai Guo Qiang's Skyladder on the same platform made me smile.
What would you say was Artsy's defining moment?
There have been many. Even before I joined over 5 years ago, there was a moment where our founder Carter Cleveland had the insight that technology hadn’t yet had a big impact on art and the art world. Another moment that comes to mind is when we firmly decided on Artsy’s future as a platform for the art world, bringing together galleries, museums, art fairs, and auction houses with art lovers and collectors.
Finally, tell us an artist to keep an eye on?
Not exactly a new name (I’m oftentimes the last one to be in the know), but I closely follow Olafur Eliasson's work.

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