Fad or innovation? First ever entirely online art fair to launch next year

ART EVENTS PROMOTING CONTEMPORARY ART ART SALES ART FAIRS ONLINE

Art Radar Asia was recently sent information on an event new to the art promotion circuit – VIP Art Fair is the first fair to be run entirely online. The event will launch on 22 January, 2011 and was founded by experienced art professionals James and Jane Cohan from James Cohan Gallery and Silicon Valley-trained technology and marketing specialists Jonas and Alessandra Almgren.

The fair will be free of charge and 45 international galleries have already signed up. Standout features include a VIP Lounge where special films of private collections and artist studios will be available to view, interaction between buyers and dealers through Skype and instant messaging, and a function which will allow fair attendees to take tours of the virtual gallery including the ability to zoom in on artwork detail.

A snapshot of the VIP Art Fair Gallery. Image courtesy of VIP Art Fair.

A snapshot of a VIP Art Fair gallery page. Image courtesy of VIP Art Fair.

Read the press release:

HONG KONG, August 19, 2010 – VIP Art Fair, the first art fair to mobilize the collective force of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries with the unlimited reach of the Internet, announces its inaugural fair taking place exclusively online for one week only, January 22-30, 2011, at www.vipartfair.com.

An unprecedented event, VIP Art Fair gives contemporary art collectors access to artworks by critically acclaimed artists and the ability to connect one-on-one with internationally renowned dealers—from anywhere in the world and without leaving home.

“For anyone passionate about art, the Fair is a transformative experience: it delivers all the excitement of world-class art fairs with the convenience and personalization of the Internet,” said James Cohan, co-founder of VIP Art Fair in collaboration with Jane Cohan, Jonas Almgren and Alessandra Almgren. “We’ve invited the most prestigious international galleries, both established and emerging, to come together for an online event, creating a virtual community that will allow collectors, curators and the public to access distinguished galleries and learn about their artists, all with unparalleled ease and absolute discretion.”

VIP Art Fair Founding Galleries David Zwirner (New York), Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin), White Cube (London), Gagosian Gallery (New York, London, Beverly Hills, Rome, and Athens), Gallery Koyanagi (Tokyo), Hauser & Wirth (Zürich, London, and New York), Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne and Sydney), Xavier Hufkens (Brussels), Fraenkel Gallery (San Francisco), Kukje Gallery (Seoul), Sadie Coles HQ (London), and James Cohan Gallery (New York and Shanghai) will be joined by other international contemporary galleries. A partial gallery list is now available online. A complete list will be made public this fall.

VIP Art Fair Features

The revolutionary design of VIP Art Fair allows art collectors the opportunity to view artwork online as never before. VIP Art Fair’s innovative technology presents artworks in relation to other works of art and in relative scale to the human figure. Inquisitive visitors can zoom in to examine details of a painting’s surface, get multiple views of a three-dimensional work, and watch videos of a multimedia piece. Galleries will provide comprehensive details on artworks and artists, including biographies, catalogue essays, artist films and interviews, and in-depth information that will empower collectors.

One of the many distinct features of the Fair is the interactivity between dealer and collector. Each dealer has the ability to hold conversations with collectors via instant messaging, Skype, and telephone to discuss works on offer in the virtual booth. Dealers can also provide access to their gallery’s back room inventory, sharing works in real time with clients in specially-created Private Rooms on the client’s own computer screen.

There are many ways to explore the Fair, including online tours which are core to the VIP Art Fair experience. Visitors to the Fair can choose from a wide selection of tours—whether of featured works or a tour created by collectors, critics, and curators from participating museums. Visitors also can design their own personalized tours of the Fair that showcase their favorite works and can be shared with friends or posted in the VIP Lounge. Other ways to navigate the site include the Fair Map and advanced searches based on criteria of interest, such as artist’s name, medium, or price range.

The VIP Lounge is where visitors can watch specially commissioned films of leading private art collections and artists’ studios, check out Fair tours created by other visitors, access status updates on art market news, and learn about new works on view in the Fair.

Accessing VIP Art Fair

The Fair will open on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. EST and conclude on Sunday, January 30, 2011, at 7:59 a.m. EST. Browsing the Fair is free of charge. To access interactive capabilities, visitors must have a VIP Ticket, which on January 22 and 23 will cost $100 and thereafter will cost $20. Visitors are encouraged to register in advance.

Editors’ Note

It seems the international art community is divided in its opinions regarding the success of online sales of artworks.

Pearl Lam, Director of Contrasts Gallery, speaking at the 2010 Art Taipei Forum, stated that,

“We have been selling paintings [through the Internet], that was in the good season, but at the present moment all the collectors … want to see the paintings…. Today, there are still collectors who are buying [through the Internet] but it’s less than what we used to have. We used to have ninety percent of them, … all [through the Internet] and they were not cheap … paintings. We still [sell through the Internet] but reduced and also depending on the price of the painting.”

However, Saffronart, a constant pioneer of new technologies in the art auction arena, recently introduced a mobile phone bidding application to it’s seasonal auctions.

With increasingly more mobile ways to access the Internet and new features which allow users to better explore and interact with virtual space, such as those that will be presented at VIP Art Fair, it’s hard to tell if this is a fad or the first successful move into better utilising this new sales territory.

What do you, our readers, think?

KN

Related Topics: promoting art, art collectors, art fairs, art and the Internet

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