Electric Objects slims down its digital art display and unveils a subscription art club

Electric Objects is announcing new ways to bring art into your home, with an affordable price tag.

The New York City startup, led by Jake Levine (formerly of Betaworks), launched a Kickstarter campaign for its digital art displays in 2014, then started shipping them a year later. Levine told me he’s trying to tear down “the barrier between normal people … and art,” so that we become as familiar with (and comfortable talking about) art as we are with our favorite movies and musicians.

Sure, art galleries can help you find what’s new and exciting, but Levine argued that they thrive on “scarcity, exclusivity and condescension.” Museums are more accessible and educational, but “then you leave that experience when you go home.” So Electric Objects is meant to bring art to your home in an easy and affordable way.

Today, Electric Objects is announcing the EO2 — and in fact, it’s discontinuing sales of its first generation display, the EO1. While both products include a 1080p, 23-inch screen, Levine argued that the EO2 represents “a huge leap forward” in a couple of ways.

For one thing, at 3/4 of an inch, the EO2 is 50 percent thinner, which means that you can mount it much closer to your wall. For another, you can now customize the display with one of four hardwood frames (sold separately).

“We’ve learned that everyone’s taste is different, every decor is different, so we’ve created a really modular, customizable, personalized experience for people,” he said.

Levine also noted that unlike most displays, the EO2 is “designed to fade into the background” — thanks to a light sensor, it will dim when you’re watching a movie, and you can also set a timer so it turns off when you go to sleep.

Of course, an art display needs art. Electric Objects will continue offering access to a library of free artwork uploaded by the community — a library that has already grown to more than 20,000 pieces.

In addition, it’s launching its first way for consumers to pay for the work, namely an Art Club, where users pay $9.99 per month for access to a curated combination of museum classics and new work created specifically for the display (the artists are then free to share and distribute the work as they please). There will be about 1,000 pieces in the Art Club at launch, Levine said.

Lastly, the company is updating its iOS and Android app. You use the app to browse through different works of art, learn more about individual artists, find playlists that allow you to cycle through related works automatically — and to create your own playlists or upload your own works of art.

The EO2 costs $299.