Virtual art fairs are on their way. Rumor has it, the tumblr art crowd has one in the pipes, and Lindsay Pollock reported yesterday that a new virtual art fair for the monied will launch this January. Titled The VIP Art Fair, participants include blue chippy galleries like David Zwirner, Hauser and Wirth, White Cube, Gagasion, Salon 94.
According to Pollock, while the online fair permits free browsing, interactive capabilities will cost “visitors” $100. This means no more chit-chatting with dealers about the work they’re handling for the unwashed masses. Oh well.
A few interesting features outlined by Pollock, complete with AFC commentary:
Browsers may view artworks online using a zoom feature, 3-D views and watch videos for multimedia pieces. I’m curious what the site will do to prevent video capture. Up until recently a low res video image in circulation devalued the work. I’ve always thought that was stupid, and would have to change, but I don’t control the behavior of collectors.
Dealers and collectors will hold conversations via instant messenger, Skype and heck, the old fashioned phone. I suspect this will increase the money talk and decrease the discussion about the work. Art is purely product here.
Fair will offer online tours as well as the ability for collectors to create and post their own tour in the virtual VIP lounge. This seems like a good idea and assuming there’s a price tag on the tour, a reasonable way to pull in a bit of extra cash. I hope the tours posted by collectors are made available to the public. Having some idea about which collectors know what they’re doing isn’t so bad.
Hat tip: Ms. Jen Bekman
ArtInfo features an interview with VIP co-founder James Cohan, who answers claims the fair is a way for galleries to reach new collectors. And, in answer to the unasked question: Isn’t your exhibitor list a little too safe to be interesting? He says, “[VIP] isn’t about the ultra-hippest galleries in the world. It's about the dominant players in various markets.”