This week on ArtEvolve we were joined by Doug Milford, Managing Partner of Artsystems and an entrepreneur with 40 years experience in the fine art industry, including as Co-Founder of Artnet Magazine and as Co-Owner and Co-Director of a founding gallery of the 1980s East Village art scene. Together we dove into Doug’s career of innovation in the art industry.
Doug came to New York from Chicago in 1977 to attend Columbia University where he studied English. During his time there he published Upstart, an arts and literature magazine that featured art world luminaries such as Keith Haring. Many of the editorial staff also went on to establish themselves as accomplished names in the world of art and literature.
From East Village to SoHo
Cheap rents saw Doug and his partner, Lisa McDonald, opt for the Lower East Side as the location of their first art space. Piezo Electric Gallery was one of the 1980’s original seven fine art galleries in New York’s East Village and represented and exhibited emerging artists. In 1987 Doug made the move to SoHo and opened the Milford Gallery, this time exhibiting international contemporary artists as well as representing emerging talent. As the market struggled at the end of the decade, Doug made the decision to close the doors.
After a break to reassess, he went to Marlborough Gallery where he oversaw publications, promotions, public relations, and so on. Projects that were previously outsourced were now done in-house and processes were digitized. Marlborough was one of the first galleries with a web presence in 1995. From there, Doug got the idea to pitch a website to Artnet, which at that time was a dialup service for auction results, and the first version of Artnet Magazine was born.
In 1997, Doug joined Artsystems. Founded in 1989 by David Studstill, Artsystems was instrumental in cataloguing the estate of and catalogue raisonné for Andy Warhol. Today, Artsystems is an industry standard art business management database for the world’s leading art galleries, private collections, artists, artist estates, and private art advisors.
Thank you to Doug Milford of Artsystems for joining us!