I'd love to see the average consumer's shopping list for Costco. Maybe something like this?
40 rolls of toilet paper
Steak to feed 20
Four-pack, Michelin tires
"Femme au Chapeau," Matisse lithograph
There's a great article on nytimes.com right now about Costco's latest addition to its inventory: affordable art. For the past two weeks, the Washington-based wholesaler has quietly listed "Fine Art" under its Home and Decor category on costco.com—a subtle re-entry into the art world (sans press releases) following controversy six years ago over the authenticity of Picassos it was selling.
Greg Moors, a San Francisco dealer who's also made artwork available on Amazon.com, is Costco's new supplier; and according to Times reporter Patricia Cohen, the retailer has so far sold: "two framed lithographs by Henri Matisse, one for $1,000, and the other for $800; a framed lithograph by Georges Braque for $1,400; a framed screen print by Andy Warhol for $1,450; and a framed textile-and-paint collage by Heather Robinson for $1,699."
Not that those bold-faced names are for sale at the moment. Of the five pieces currently online, all but two are out of stock: a $629.99 framed lithrograph by painter/costume designer Marcel Vertes, and the oil painting "Flowers in a Pot" by Robert Cot for $779.99. Which means that people are actually buying art through Costco. Would you?