The Independent in London celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Counter Editions, the firm that brought the rowdy YBA to a broader audience:
As the defining decade of the enfant terrible was drawing to a close, Carl Freedman – one-time boyfriend of Emin, former flatmate of Hirst and curator of the first east-London warehouse exhibitions of the late 1980s – decided that it was time to make desirable contemporary art more widely available.
Freedman’s plan was not just to sell pieces at an affordable price; he also wanted to bring work to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access. “Anyone living outside London,” he says, “couldn’t have seen, let alone got their hands on, a lot of this work, even if they had the money to buy it.” In order to redress the balance, Freedman founded an online gallery selling one-off pieces by sought-after artists at relatively affordable prices. Thanks to his “long-standing personal and professional relationships” with artists such as Gary Hume and Sam Taylor-Wood, Freedman was able to draw in some of the biggest names in the British art world. To date, the fastest-selling pieces on the Counter Editions website have included an Emin etching of a small bird entitled Sometimes I Feel Lonely But It’s OK, and a Sam Taylor-Wood image called Ivan, of a Russian ballet dancer.
Since countereditions.com was first launched in 2000, the American painter Elizabeth Peyton, the photographer Mario Testino and the visual artist Roni Horn have joined the list of those who’ve created never-before-seen limited-edition artworks for sale solely on this site. And in a unique partnership, many of these offers have been made exclusively available over the years at a reduced price to the readers of this magazine – including Christopher Wool’s print My House I (2000), Chris Ofili’s Regal (2002) and Gillian Wearing’s portrait of supermodel Lily Cole (2009).