The Artful Democracy of Online Art Gallery The Tappan Collective


Bonding over a mutual love of art (specifically, Egon Schiele nudes), Los Angeles natives Chelsea Neman and Jordan Klein, both 24, could not have known that the friendship sparked during freshman orientation at the University of Michigan would evolve into a successful business partnership.

In 2012, not long after the pair graduated with art degrees, they launched The Tappan Collective, a West Hollywood–based online art gallery named after U of M’s Tappan Fine Arts Library, where the girls spent countless hours poring over art texts. The gallery features the work of emerging artists as well as fresh art-school grads who are long on talent but short on experience. For this tenderfoot gang, the sale of a piece often provides the capital to continue working, which justifies Tappan’s affordable price points. “Our collection appeals to contemporary art lovers with meager budgets,” says Klein. Currently at Tappan, a limited-edition photography print by twentysomething filmmaker Gia Coppola (granddaughter of FFC) is a steal at $80; on the steeper side, an original basketball sculpture by found-object artist Evan Robarts is $1,525.

Knowing that the online experience can be terribly two-dimensional, Neman and Klein host pop-up art shows at spaces around LA to “help people connect to the art better than they would on the Web,” says Neman. Further down the line, the founders envision starting an art consultancy for interior designers in search of edgy, budget-conscious wall candy with a higher cachet quotient than “anything Z Gallerie has to offer.” Their dream client? The inimitable Ms. Wearstler, of course. “Kelly, call us!” Klein says with a laugh.

This was originally published in California Home + Design’s Summer 2013 issue. Click here to subscribe.

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