New Genet Gallery Exhibition Explores Etsy’s Role in the Art World

Caveat Emptor
“Isshi Kaido-maru,” Utagawa Kunisada; “Wild Hunt,” Amelia Leonards

A new exhibition at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery explores the role that the online marketplace Etsy plays (or will play) in the art world through what is considered “fine art.”

“Caveat Emptor: Etsy in the Art World” aims to present the historical prevalence and popularity of mass-produced objects, as well as how online platforms such as Etsy offer a departure from traditional work made for the masses.

Curated by Molly Wight ’22, a museum studies graduate student in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), the exhibition is the culmination of independent study and research that showcases several artists including Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, Japanese woodblock prints and selections from the curator’s personal collection.

The exhibition will be on view at the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery, located on the first floor of the Nancy Cantor Warehouse. 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse, from March 4-April 3. A reception will be held Monday, April 11, from 5-7 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. or by appointment.

“Caveat Emptor” examines not only how artists who market their artwork on Etsy interact with the art world, but also the precedent for mass-produced art and how Etsy art shares similarities but also has differences from types of art like ukiyo-e prints and Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau posters. Artwork that is marketed on Etsy is contemporary art in that it is created by living artists, but it is very different from the kind of contemporary art that most museums collect.

Based in VPA’s School of Design at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, the Sue and Leon Genet Gallery is a student-managed space hosting exhibitions from the school’s students, faculty and alumni. Programing seeks to engage the University and downtown Syracuse community with exhibitions inspired by and related to the field of design.