2022: A Year in Review at Artsystems
Q&A with Doug Milford, Vertical Business Unit (VBU) Leader
Goodbye 2022 and hello to 2023 at Artsystems! To begin the new year in style, we spoke with Doug Milford, a Vertical Business Unit (VBU) Leader at Volaris and Artsystems’s very own Director of Operations.
Doug shared his insights into our continued legacy as a leader in art management solutions—including how 2022 shaped Artsystems and its software and what innovations we have in store for users in 2023.
After 26 fulfilling years at Artsystems, Doug retired at the end of 2022. We will miss his generosity of knowledge and profound dedication to the role! Artsystems looks forward to doing Doug proud by continuing to deliver industry-leading software and services to our valued clients.
Thank you for taking the time! First off, can you tell us a bit about Artsystems?
Artsystems staff has always consisted of experienced art industry professionals—collection managers, ex-gallery owners, and the like. All are very savvy with our software solutions, both before and since joining the company.
Who was Artsystems’ first client? We know that the Estate of Andy Warhol played a pivotal role in the company’s genesis in 1989.
Yes, the Warhol Estate was our first client. Artsystems created a custom database to manage Andy’s inventory and collection, from his cookie jars to his own iconic masterpieces.
Since then, our off-the-shelf art management database continues to be used to manage the Warhol Foundation’s inventory, as well as the creation of his catalogue raisonné.
How did Artsystems grow into the company that it is today? What are the key takeaways you’ve learned during your tenure as a leader in arts management software?
Since the beginning, Artsystems has known to trust the experts.
We have leveraged the experience of our renowned clients and in-house industry veterans to develop, refine, and enhance our software. By systematizing their secrets to succeeding in art business and collections management, we create the optimal applications for increasing efficiency and generating sales.
What sets Artsystems apart from the crowd? Why do clients choose your products to manage their art and collections?
We’re aware that galleries, artists, and private and corporate collections have several options available. But if they want to get the most from their data, they choose Artsytem5 (A5), the professional-grade option for art management.
A5 has integrated modules for Contacts, Works, Editions, Artists, Exhibitions, Transactions, and Work References and Library. With every edit, the database updates all related fields, automating virtually all art business and collection management tasks. As such, A5 is the most efficient and comprehensive system available.
2022 was a big year for Artsystems! Let’s start off by talking about your merger with Gallery Systems. How did that partnership come about?
A big year, indeed. I’ve personally known Jay Hoffman, the founder of Gallery Systems, since we demoed their gallery software at Marlborough Gallery in the early 90’s.
In 1996, as the Publisher of Artnet.com, I invited both Jay and Artsystems’s founder and now Chief Software Architect, David Studstill, to present their software offerings as a part of my proposal to integrate gallery databases with Artnet’s Galleries Online Internet service. Unfortunately, Artnet’s ownership chose not to pursue this opportunity, and soon after, I left Artnet and joined Artsystems as a partner.
Since then, Gallery Systems grew to be the leading museum software provider and was later acquired by Volaris. Jay and I had multiple discussions about partnering over the years. Ultimately, in the last year, these talks lead to the consummation of Artsystems’s acquisition.
We know the acquisition is still relatively fresh, but what benefits have you already noticed since becoming part of Gallery Systems?
Before the acquisition, Artsystems was completely self-funded with no outside investment. Business-wise, we figured things out as we went along.
Joining Gallery Systems provides a much larger corporate environment. It gives us additional resources for growth, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced professional management and expertise.
With Q4 nearing to a close, what can we expect to see from Artsystems in 2023? Can you give us a sneak peek at what the new year holds for your company and its clients?
For Artsytems clients, 2023 is going to offer A5 feature updates, a new website platform, mass email integration, and additional online service partnerships.
Partnering with Artsystems in 2023
Didn’t meet your art management goals in 2022? Artsystems wants to help you achieve more this year. Contact us now to learn how our top-of-line solutions for artists, galleries, and collections can support your 2023 objectives.