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ArtFlash Comes to the U.S. ~ Interview with Katharina Bauckhage

Berlin-based Artflash is launching a U.S version of its flash sale website for contemporary art. Founded in 2012 by Katharina Bauckhage, Artflash provides subscribers with bi-weekly flash-sales of limited, curated art multiples by international artists.  The U.S. version is based in Venice, which is where founder Bauckhage lives and works, There is an opening party this Saturday night, 6-11pm at 512 Victoria Avenue. RSVP at In advance of the launch, we spoke with Katharina about Berlin/LA comparisons, the value of art prints, and more... 

Photo by Julia Baier
Photo by Julia Baier
Photo by Julia Baier

What was the moment of inspiration that lead to the creation of ArtFlash?
When I was working for the contemporary art exhibition documenta, all displayed art seemed to be neither accessible nor affordable. Then a curator I was friends with issued a few limited art editions by some well known artist-friends to finance her next show. I purchased one of them - my first artwork ever -and I quickly regretted not having bought another lithograph that my friend had recommend to buy. Five  years later I stumbled over that same work and was surprised that there were still six  prints out of an edition of 20 available. The artist had become quite famous by then. How could his edition still be available at this low, pre-fame price? That was my moment of inspiration: Digging for the hidden gems of contemporary art and making them accessible online.

What brought you to Los Angeles? What keeps you here?
I moved to LA with with my husband Tobias for his business It was right after I launched artflash in Berlin and we planned on staying here no longer than six months. Now we have been in the city for three and a half years already and love it here. It seems like you get more things done, work starts earlier in the day, the weather makes you happy and there are so many activities that our two young children can enjoy.  We are fortunate to live where other people spend their vacations and feel very lucky and thankful for it every day.

How have you found the L.A. art scene, and are there parallels to Berlin?
The LA art scene is difficult to summarize - a lot is going on here, galleries open and close much quicker than in Berlin. The openings are spread out over the sprawling city so it`s difficult to see more than three galleries in one evening. In Berlin, you take your bike and stroll around on a Friday night and you can possibly visit 10 or more gallery-openings in less than three hours. So for sure the LA scene is more of a logistic challenge.


What do you miss about Germany that L.A. should import?
I miss the seasons, public transportation and of course my friends and family in Germany. What should be imported to LA ? Broader acceptance of car sharing-services with electric cars, more public parks, more public spaces in general, and more bike lanes. Those sort of things...

Who are some of the artists you work with, and what can we expect going forward?
Currently I am working with LA-born artist Marisa Mandler on an exclusive and small edition for artflash. She is a very exciting artist with a huge sense of fragility for objects and elusiveness of time. She is now working on some etchings and lithographs; I can’t  wait to see her first results.
In Berlin we are working with Christoph Niemann on a new limited edition print, he is known for his witty cover-drawings for The New Yorker and The New York Times and with artist Harald Herrman who will realise an edition with fluorescent colors.

Which L.A. based artists would you like to work with, which ones are your favorites?
I am a big fan of Sam Falls  - one huge rubbing work at the Hammer this summer blew me away! John Baldessari is - personally spoken - an idol for me and it would be like a dream come true to release an affordable edition with him for artflash. Same with Ed Rusha, he is still extremely active and prints from time to time in a small workshop here in Venice.

Do prints appreciate in value the same way that original works do?
If they are carefully executed limited edition prints, then yes, I strongly believe in the value of limited edition prints. It is important to understand that limited edition prints are not reproductions of originals but multiple originals made by artists and with the support of printmakers. There is a huge variety - from etchings to lithographs, from woodcuts to linocuts - and almost every artist (from Robert Rauschenberg to Jeff Koons) is making limited editions to make their works accessible to a broader audience. If you are in LA, stop-by at Gemini on Melrose for an opening-show and go see the workshop with huge presses and piles of handmade paper with the length of an adult bike - they create one-of-a-kind prints and it really gives you a sense of the craftsmanship of limited edition prints.

What is your favorite taco spot?
Casalinda on Abbot Kinney was my favorite taco-place for lunch - I loved the shrimp tacos! Now they are closed - so I have to look for something new - any recommendations?

When friends visit you from out of town, what are your must-see locations?
The Getty Center, for sure - not only for the art but for the spectacular views and architecture - best time to go is before sunset. I am also a big fan of Historic Downtown around the Last Remaining Bookstore, and we always do a bike ride to Santa Monica Pier. And then for a day trip we love going to the desert around Joshua Tree - the light and the wide landscape are simply breath-taking.

What's next for ArtFlash?
We are launching the U.S. version of artflash on Dec 1, 2015 with a limited edition etching by Raymond Pettibon, who designed album covers for bands like "Black Flag" and " Sonic Youth" in the early 1980s - and since then has become one of the most sought after contemporary artists.. We will pair Pettibon´s etching with an incredible work by the 30-year-old Berlin artist Michelle Jezierski. So we will start with Berlin and Los Angeles and we are very excited to show both works to a broader audience in the U.S. Pettibon´s etching was sitting in the drawer of a printing-workshop in Santa Monica for over five years and now it´s really time to make it accessible.

Artflash_Pettibon_004 (1)
MJezierski_NL (1)

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