Art Authority Blog
You likely now know us as Art Authority, but we got our start 25 years ago today as Open Door Networks, Inc. On January 4, 1995, Open Door’s founder, Alan Oppenheimer, left Apple Computer and Silicon Valley to move to Ashland Oregon and start a company to help Macintosh users experience a new communications and information system, “the Internet.” Alan had helped build the original Mac’s similar system (“AppleTalk”) and hoped he could bring that system’s user-focus, ease-of-use and security to Mac users as they joined the fledgling Internet.
The new company, and its AppleTalk-based Internet access system, was announced at Macworld in San Francisco on that day in 1995. It’s been a long, strange, 25-year trip since then. Not only was the Internet just getting started, but a new publishing and e-commerce system called the world wide web was just being rolled out as well. Open Door helped Mac users, and Apple itself, not just surf the Internet and Web, but also publish on it by turning the Macintosh into a world-class Web server. A series of server utilities followed (WebDoor, HomeDoor, LogDoor and MailDoor). Open Door also hosted a number of the earliest web sites.
Reading the handwriting written large and bold on the world wide web wall, Open Door worked with Apple on utilities to help Mac users migrate from AppleTalk-based networks to ones using Internet (IP) protocols. The next sign post was pretty clear too, reading “Be safe out there.” Thanks to its initial design, the Mac was already the most secure way to access the Internet, but Open Door’s DoorStop Personal Firewall helped further secure Macs against an ever-growing variety of international Internet evil-doers. DoorStop, licensed by Internet security company Symantec, became the basis of a suite of Macintosh Internet security products, including the book “Internet Security for Your Macintosh.”
Meanwhile, back in our home town of Ashland, Oregon, Open Door helped the city plan and roll out a city-wide fiber-optic network, and we used that network to provide free, wireless Internet access at the local Starbucks, perhaps the first Starbucks anywhere to provide that now-omnipresent service. We also used the network for one of the first-ever July 4 parade webcasts.
In early 2004, Alan and Open Door were asked to present a keynote talk, “A History of Macintosh Networking” at the Mac’s 20th anniversary celebration. The presentation was again at Macworld, where the company had been introduced nine years before.
In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, the biggest change to computing (and society in general) since the personal computer. It was immediately clear that Open Door had a role to play with that world-changing device, but it wasn’t clear what that role was. We had an app available day one of the App Store (iEnvision), and would introduce over 100 apps within the first year. But by the time of Apple’s next game-changer, the iPad in 2010, it was clear that our classic-art viewing app was the big winner.
We just didn’t know how big! Available again on day one, Art Authority for iPad would be featured by Apple many times, and win the Apple Rewind award as best reference app two years in a row. The educational version, Art Authority K-12, would be highlighted by Apple VP Phil Schiller in a keynote at the Guggenheim Museum, and iPhone and Mac versions would follow, along with a curated version for the Apple TV, Art Channel. The Art Authority database would grow to over 100,000 works of art from nearly 1000 museums.
We were pleased and honored by the difference we were able to make at this new intersection of art and technology. Things got even more interesting when the real art authorities found us. We ended up changing the name of the company to Art Authority LLC, acquiring the pioneering fine art retailer 1000Museums, and making major contributions to the art world in which we are now so firmly entrenched. Our museum-approved archival reproductions are second to none, and we’ve given back hundreds of thousands of dollars directly to the art world in the form of royalties. We’ve also sponsored an internship program for nine years running.
From dial-up Internet to fine art reproduction over a quarter century. Quite the ride. We can’t wait to find out what the next quarter century will bring!
We’re back from Macworld/iWorld in San Francisco. As usual, it was a whirlwind. We participated in even more events than usual, talking with a large number of current (and future) customers, various members of the press, and art aficionados and authorities of all sorts. Here are some of the highlights:
- Our booth was packed. Macworld suggested only one person work the booth at a time, but we often needed two and sometimes three.
- While a year ago many of the discussions were on education (resulting in our Art Authority K-12 app), this year more were on museums, galleries, and individual artists. No doubt some of that had to do with the recent introduction of our Art Alert app.
- Questions and comments during Alan’s talk “Art Goes Digital” also focused more on individual artists and galleries.
- Alan was interviewed (twice!) on KGO/KFOG radio.
- Keeping with the overall museum theme, after the show ended, we were honored and privileged to be given VIP tickets to the amazing “Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings for the Maurithuis” exhibit at the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park. That exhibit was so eye-opening (literally) that it will be the subject of a whole blog post in the near future.
As usual, a good time was had by all. And we learned a whole lot in the process.
The annual rite now known as Macworld/iWorld is coming up. It’s January 31 through February 2, at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Art Authority will have our biggest presence ever there. Here are some of the events we’ll be participating in:
- In our booth in the Appalooza showcase (#718) we’ll be showing off all our wares (apps). We’ll of course be highlighting Art Authority for iPad (best iPad reference app of 2010, 2011 and most recently 2012). We’ll also be showing off the new (last year) K-12 edition, as well as the new (last month) Art Alert (“find great art wherever you find yourself”). If you’re going to be anywhere near San Francisco, please come down and say hi. We even have free passes to the exhibits available if you’d like.
- Our president (and blog co-author) Alan Oppenheimer will be following up last year’s “World’s Biggest Art Museum” panel with a special session talk entitled “Art Goes Digital”. You need a full iFan Pass to get into the talks, but Alan may have one or two free passes to just his talk available if you’re really interested.
- We’re also participating in the First Look and Show Special programs. And of course the parties 🙂
And, just in case you missed it: we do have free exhibit passes available. Hope to see you there!
- Cezanne, Still life of apples and biscuits
- Gauguin, Arearea (The Red Dog)
- Homer, Snap the Whip
- Seurat, Bathers at Asnieres
- Degas, The Star, or Dancer on the stage
- Monet, The Waterlily Pond: Green Harmony
- Manet, Dejeuner sur l’Herbe
- Toulouse-Lautrec, Poster advertising ‘Le Divan Japonais’
- Gogh, The Starry Night
- Marc, The Fox
Here is a copy of our press release that went out on the wires today:
Art Authority marries technology and liberal arts at Macworld/iWorld
Celebrates award-winning app becoming much more
San Francisco, CA – The creators of the award-winning “Art Authority” app line announced that they are re-branding their partnership under that name at the Macworld/iWorld trade show here. Previously known as “we-envision.com,” the creators of over 100 iPad/iPhone apps are becoming “Art Authority” to highlight their current focus at this intersection of technology and liberal arts. Art Authority’s “coming out party,” in the Mobile App Showcase, booth 818-P19, January 26-28, will include:
- The iPad version of the app, one of the seven “Amazing applications” highlighted by Apple at their recent education event at the Guggenheim Museum.
- In concert with the world-renowned Bridgeman Art Library, demonstration of “buy-a-print.” Users viewing selected works in the app will be able to use the app to order framed high-quality prints of those works directly from Bridgeman’s collection. Buy-a-print will be active worldwide for all app users during the show timeframe.
- Recently-added features such as “Art Like This,” which magically displays works similar to the one a user is looking at.
- Special show pricing, with versions of the app available through the iTunes and Mac App Stores for $4.99, up to 50% off the normal price.
- A sneak preview of the under-development Art Authority social network.
- Celebration of the app’s selection as “Best iPad Reference App of 2011” in Apple’s Rewind 2011 and “Greatest 25 Apps of All Time” in Macworld’s Appalooza contest.
Alan Oppenheimer, president of Art Authority partner Open Door Networks, Inc. will also moderate a panel discussion on “The World’s Biggest Art Musuem,” featuring noted art authorities from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Placer County, California school system. Details are available at http://www.macworldiworld.com/techtalks/friday-overview/friday-agenda/#975
“Steve Jobs said ‘It’s technology, married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing,'” said Oppenheimer. “That’s what Art Authority the app, Art Authority the community, and Art Authority the partnership are all about.”
“We’re not just focused on art apps,” said Jim Teece, president of Art Authority partner Project A, Inc. “We’re focused on the art community. Part of our re-branding, and our plan for the show, is to connect with people who know and love art, and to involve them in a way that helps us all add to that art community.”
Art Authority for iPad is the only iPad Reference app to be named to both Rewind 2011 and Rewind 2010. It brings over 50,000 high-resolution classic works of art to users’ fingertips. Hailed as “an experience unlike any other” and “visually dazzling,” the app stunningly displays paintings and sculptures by over 1000 major western artists from ancient times through current-day. The app is in use by Seton Hill University and a number of other educational institutions worldwide. Art Authority for Macintosh, iPhone, and Kindle Fire bring similar functionality to these devices.