.ART was launched in December 2016 by Ulvi Kasimov, a venture investor and patron of the arts, whose company UK Creative Ideas Limited (UKCI) became an operator of .ART under an exclusive agreement with ICANN, the Internet regulating body. Among over 2000 new gTLDs released by ICANN, .ART was in the top-3 most contested.
.ART had an impressive rise of registrations during its ‘Preferred Access’ period, totaling about 2500. Prominent institutions, individuals and brands from art, luxury, entertainment, hi-tech and corporate world have joined – to use their .ART domain names for redirect purposes, future projects or brand protection. Among them were TATE, Louvre, Centre Pompidou, LACMA, MAXXI Museum, Sotheby’s, Hauser & Wirth, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Marina Abramović Institute, Fondation Beyeler, Beyoncé, Banksy, Shantell Martin, Artists Rights Society, teamLab, Fondation Cartier, Rolex, BMW, Apple, Google, Whatsapp, AXA, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to name a few.
.ART became available to general public on May 10th, 2017. All major registrars, including GoDaddy, Namechimp and Alibaba started selling .ART, as it gave them an opportunity to reach an audience of young creatives, previously “lost” to the domain world because of their dominating reliance on social media. To date, .ART has sold over 50000 domains in 148 countries, having obtained government permits to operate in China in 2018. The majority of .ART sales go to creative individuals, and about a quarter – to companies.
In the last two years .ART has partnered with Rhizome’s Seven on Seven Conference, sponsored Digital Innovation in Art award for Investor Allstars and participated in numerous ICANN meetings. Ars Electronica, an internationally unique platform for digital art and media culture has partnered with .ART, adopting a new domain and educating its followers on the digital space order and the necessity of online positioning and expanding boundaries.
.ART also became a rare exception to be granted a permission by ICANN to extend WHOIS domain information fields. It has uniquely augmented this information to include artwork identification criteria based on a standard established by International Council of Museums (ICOM) and endorsed by Interpol and other authoritative bodies. This WHATIS™ information includes the artist name, title, medium, dimensions and other identifying information. As the object transfers ownership, so will the domain name providing a chain of custody and evidence of trustworthiness and provenance that will enhance its value and establish ownership credentials.
A new international standard for online art object identification was launched based on these developments – Art Records. It uses safe, reliable and stable infrastructure to centralize and store information. The first art object to be registered on it was www.yugen.art, a radical new moving image artwork created by world renowned film director and artist Martha Fiennes and starring leading Hollywood actress Salma Hayek.
With offices in Los Angeles, Moscow and Beijing, the .ART team is headquartered in London, being led by professionals dedicated to making .ART the world’s most creative website address and expanding boundaries.