Stefan Simchowitz, the art collector otherwise known by such epithets as “the art world’s patron satan,” “Sith Lord,” and “one of twelve producers on Requiem for a Dream,” has launched his own website that is fashionably vague but overflowing with photos—of artists, of art, of himself, all under the heading “Nice shot.”
Last week, Simchowitz posted a screenshot of simcosclub.com on Facebook along with the command “SIGN UP.” Clicking on the “About” tab at the site leads to the following information:
“Simco’s Club is a free members’ club open to anyone wanting to access the very best in emerging, contemporary art. Members get access to new artists and works at affordable prices. At Simco’s Club, we cut through the crap and encourage an open conversation about culture. We do not offer investment advice.”
Simchowitz is well-known for investing in emerging artists and ramping up demand, selling just before sale prices peak, with clients including heiress Anna Getty, “homeless” financier Nicolas Berggruen, Orlando Bloom, Harvey Weinstein, Steve Tisch, and Sean Parker.
The site, however, is more than a personal newsletter. Under a tab marked “Services,” the offerings include “unedited access to a global network of contemporary artists, collectors, dealers, gallerists and institutions” and an art team “[handling] everything from transportation and installation to storage.” There’s also a section on artist management. Simchowitz has done business in the past with young artists such as Parker Ito, Petra Cortright, Oscar Murillo, Jon Rafman, Amalia Ulman, and Kour Pour, and in this vein, the site says:
“We’ve helped some of the world’s best known young artists launch and sustain their careers and we’re always looking for talent. We offer everything from top line management to production financing to consulting and straight purchasing.”
So, I signed up. Besides filling in my name, email, address, etc., I had to select my role in the art world from a dropdown menu. Options included: artist, collector, dealer, other. If you fall into the “other” category, you must further specify. Once logged in, it’s clear that Simchowitz is selling art through the site. A single painting by Darren Goins, 021r, appeared on my page, alongside a bright red “Buy Now” button and a $12,000 price tag. Under “Subscriptions” on the settings page, it appears that I will receive three newsletters (with the option of unsubscribing): “Weekly Art News,” “New Works For Sale,” and “Simco’s Hit List.”
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Simchowitz explained this commerce component, saying that every once in a while members will be able to buy a piece of art from a young artist. But that aspect of the site is, he said, “less central” to its mission. Mainly, he sees the site as a way to centralize and promote his services, and to provide a context for some of the coverage of him in the press.
“People maybe see the first few lines of the New York Times piece on me and they see ‘Satan abuses young artists,’” he said. “This is a way to provide more context and content.”
Additional reporting by Sarah Douglas.