Art Authority Blog
A quarter century of Open Doors
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!
In keeping with modern-day tradition, Art Authority and our 1000Museums brand of museum-approved archival prints would like to help you ring in the holidays with free apps and special pricing on our prints.
Our award-winning Art Authority for iPad and iPhone apps are FREE this weekend. So if you haven’t already, please go out and get them. You can then browse the collection of over 100,00 classic works of art from hundreds of museums worldwide.
And what do you do after visiting the museum(s)? Go through the museum gift shop, of course. The 1000Museums gift shop is built into the apps, or you can get to it directly at 1000Museums.com.
And did we mention everything at 1000Museums is 30-50% off this weekend? And shipping in the U.S. is free!
So what are waiting for? Happy Holidays!
Be-Sure-You-Get-It-In-Time: Apps free this week
As part of our Be-Sure-You-Get-It-In-Time sale, the award-winning Art Authority for iPad and iPhone apps are completely free this week. We’re hoping all you last-minute Christmas shoppers will use the apps (or the 1000Museums.com web site) to take advantage of the last few days you can order our 1000Museums archival prints and get them in time for Christmas* at great sale prices (30% off through promotion code INTIME30).
So, if there’s anyone left on your gift list (and we’re betting there is), please download the apps (if you haven’t already), go to the built-in 1000Museums Gift Shop, and put in your orders. After that you can enjoy the apps for free throughout 2019 and beyond.
*See our holiday ordering deadlines page for details. Custom-framed prints should be ordered by Wednesday, December 12.
Celebrating two years of (even more) giving back
Free apps! Half off on all prints! This weekend only!
Why? Here at Art Authority we’re proud of how we’ve been giving back to the art community. Starting with an app in the App Store the day that store opened ten years ago, we’ve provided art lovers worldwide with access to over 100,000 classic works of art, university art history classes with (literally) a new way of looking at art, and K-12 teachers with the ability to involve their students with art in age-appropriate ways, including through free lesson plans. We authored a paper on evaluating the importance of art in the Internet era, and are in the eighth year of our summer-intern program for art majors.
And now we have something else to really celebrate:
As of July 22, we’re celebrating two years since we acquired 1000Museums.com and the associated relationships with the artists and institutions that create and care for the art we all love so much. In those two years we have now given back, mainly in the form of royalties on prints we’ve sold, over $250,000. One-quarter of a million dollars has gone to helping current-day artists, artists estates and art museums big and small further their important missions of community, education, preservation and beauty. Some of the relationships we’re most proud of include:
- The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
- The Library of Congress
- I Require Art
- Museum Store Sunday (Charter sponsor)
- The estates of Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse, Jacob Lawrence and others
- Fine Art Custom Printing by R. Mac Holbert
You may be skeptical, but we love paying royalties. We get so much in return, starting with the ability to offer the highest quality curator-approved prints. The more royalties we pay, not only do artists and museums keep doing great things, but the more product that means we’ve sold. And the more product we’ve sold, the more great art is in the hands of our customers, and the more money we have to work with additional museums and pay still more royalties.
We hope to keep this impressive virtuous circle going indefinitely, paying more and more royalties to more and more institutions. As part of that plan, and to celebrate our two-year successes, through July 22 only, we’re putting all prints on 1000Museums.com on sale for an unheard of 50% off.* Please help us give back the next $250,000 and help yourself to some of the best in fine-art reproductions in the process.
Oh, and the Art Authority apps are free this weekend too 🙂
*First 1000 orders for unframed prints only (custom-framed prints available for 25% off).
Watch this space
Having just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the App Store and the long, strange trip it started us on, we’re about to celebrate the 2-year anniversary of one of the biggest parts of that trip: our major acquisition of 1000 museums worth of art through 1000Museums.com.
So be sure to watch this space as that date, Sunday July 22, gets closer. You’ll be glad you did 🙂
Our long, strange, 10-year trip
Ten years ago, on July 10 2008, Apple rolled out the App Store. It sure has been a long, strange trip for us here at Art Authority LLC since then.
In 2008 we were Open Door Networks, founded in 1995 as a dial-up internet provider, and known mainly for developing Macintosh network utilities like the DoorStop Personal Firewall.
The iPhone of course changed everything. When introduced the year before, Apple didn’t allow developers to provide software for it, but they quickly saw the error of their ways and the rest is most certainly history. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to develop iPhone apps, and our iEnvision Web-image browser app was available on day one in the “iTunes App Store” ten years ago.
iEnvision included “bookmarks” to five categories of image sites that we thought displayed particularly well on the iPhone: comics, space photos, newspaper front pages, children’s books and… art! It was a great start for us, and within a month, we broke out the individual built-in categories from iEnvision into individual apps, which we called “Envi apps.” There was “Comic Envi,” “Space Envi”, “News Envi”, “Kid Book Envi” and… “Art Envi.” Many other Envi’s soon followed.
The App Store was a huge success, as was Art Envi in particular. When Apple announced the iPad in early 2010, it was a no-brainer what we were going to implement on Apple’s next groundbreaking device: art, art, art. Art Authority in particular. Art Authority for iPad took Art Envi to the next level, with dozens of times the number of artists and the amount of art, many more ways to search and access the art, and a professionally-designed virtual museum interface. The result: “an experience unlike any other” (the NY Times), which has often sold as the #1 reference app in the App Store. We are proud to have, literally and figuratively, changed art history with our art apps.
Our transition from Macintosh network experts to Art Authority was just getting started. The Art Authority app’s widespread acclaim was noticed by a number of real art authorities, including the Getty Museum’s Stanley Smith and digital printing guru R. Mac Holbert. In early 2016 we got together with Stanley, Mac and other art authorities to form Art Authority LLC. The company had become the app.
Our trip didn’t stop there. E-commerce company Project A had long been associated with Open Door’s efforts, and with their e-commerce know-how, Stanley and Mac’s printing expertise and the app’s access to 100,000+ works of art, we had everything we needed to move Art Authority beyond the app world into selling museum-quality reproductions. Many companies had gone from physical goods to electronic; we went from electronic to physical goods.
The final piece of the puzzle (so far) fell into place when we acquired the assets of art e-commerce pioneer 1000Museums. 1000Museums.com remains the principal site for selling our (physical) wares, and the museum relationships that the site has helped nurture look to be the next big step in what has certainly been a very long, strange 10-year trip. All started by Steve Jobs, the iPhone, and the App Store.
Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series: the whole story
In 1941, at the high point of the Great African-American Migration, Jacob Lawrence created and captioned a sequence of 60 small paintings visually and poignantly portraying that migration. Viewed in its entirety, the series creates a narrative, in pictures and words, which tells the story of that exodus.
Lawrence’s Migration Series was quickly recognized, not just as a representation, but as an essential piece of the ongoing movement. Not just documentation of history, but part of history. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Phillips Collection competed to purchase the works, which were ultimately split between the two museums, with odd-numbered panels going to the Phillips and even-numbered to MoMA. The split broadened access but made it just about impossible to “read” the whole “story” in order, let alone in its entirety.
On rare occasions, all 60 panels have been exhibited together, most recently in Seattle. But we’ve been unaware of any place in cyberspace where you could acquire the whole story and hang it on your wall. Until now. Art Authority is proud to announce that, as part of Black History Month, we have worked with the Phillips, MoMA and the Lawrence Foundation to make available 1000Museums-brand archival prints of all 60 panels.
We’re so proud that we’ve taken things beyond just these foundational panels and created an entire web site devoted to celebrating related works of art by a number of major African-American artists. The site, FocusOnAfricanAmericanArtists.com adds context to Lawrence’s panels not just through other important works by him, but also by others who came both before and after. Works by early artists Henry Ossawa Tanner and Horace Pippin, later artists Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold, and many more. All available through the museum-approved quality of 1000Museums archival reproductions.
Another small piece of an ongoing story.
Best for Last: Art Authority apps free this weekend only
As part of our “Best for Last” sale, the award-winning Art Authority for iPad and iPhone apps are completely free this weekend only. We’re hoping all you last-minute Christmas shoppers will use the apps (or the 1000Museums.com web site) to take advantage of the LAST two days you can order our 1000Museums archival prints and get them in time for Christmas* at the BEST sales prices of the year (30% off through promotion code BESTFORLAST).
So, if there’s anyone left on your gift list (and we’re betting there is), please download the apps (if you haven’t already), go to the built-in 1000Museums Gift Shop, and put in your orders. After that you can enjoy the apps for free throughout 2018 and beyond.
*Sorry, but due to our custom processes, only unframed prints shipped in the US will make it in time for Christmas.
Visit 1000 museums this Sunday
Through our 1000Museums brand, Art Authority is proud to be a Charter Sponsor of Museum Store Sunday, which is tomorrow! MSS is the museum equivalent of Black Friday, and we’re kicking off our holiday campaign with some serious specials to highlight the day:
- The award-winning Art Authority apps for iPad and iPhone, with their own museum store through the new 1000Museums Gift Shop, will be only 99 cents through Apple’s App Store (normally $9.99 and $4.99 respectively)
- Every archival reproduction from every museum at 1000Museums.com will be 25% off, custom framing included
- The brand’s newly-introduced archival Note Card line will be 25% off at FocusOnFineArtGifts.com
- Newly-introduced items and specials will be available on 1000Museums partner sites, including those with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, US Library of Congress and National Gallery in London
So please go visit your local museum(s) and then please come back and visit a thousand more through our apps and the 1000Museums.com web sites.
The Art Authority Gift Shop
If you’ve been a fan of Art Authority apps, you probably know that we’ve pioneered a number of new features since debuting our award-winning virtual museum app along with the iPad in 2010 (and even earlier as iEnvision with the iPhone in 2008). SmArt Resolution, Art Near Me, Art Real Size, and Art Like This to name a few.
Today we’re happy to announce another one: the Art Authority virtual museum (100,000 works and counting) now includes a real Gift Shop. As we hinted out when we acquired 1000Museums.com we have integrated that site’s museum-approved archival reproduction capabilities directly into the iPad and iPhone versions of Art Authority.
Now Open: The 1000Museums Gift Shop! Real-world, physical prints in five sizes with custom framing options. Top quality. Museum-approved. 1000Museums has been providing these products through their (now our) web site for a decade, and now you can get them through our apps too.
The Gift Shop can be easily accessed from within the Art Authority museum in three different ways:
- From the lobby of the museum, just tap the Gift Shop sign. Going in through the lobby gives you access to the full 1000Museums Gift Shop, which includes tens of thousands of works. On the iPad, you can even browse some of the 1000Museums all-time favorites before entering the full Gift Shop.
- By viewing the “Art you can buy” show in the main directory, and each period room’s directory (on the iPad). These shows include all works in the Art Authority museum (or the specific room) that are available in the Gift Shop too.
- When viewing individual museum works, just tap the “Available at 1000Museums” or “BUY” button to view and purchase reproductions of the work within the Gift Shop.
One of the main reasons we acquired 1000Museums is because our missions were so closely aligned: bringing all the world’s art to all the world. Now our apps and web sites are closely aligned too. And just in time for the holidays!