VIP Art Fair Engages A New Generation Of Art Buyers

73,000 register for seven day event 160,000 Unique Visits and 1.5 Million Pages viewed

VIP 2.0, the second edition of the VIP Art Fair, has secured its status as the leading online platform for contemporary art. 160,000 visits were made over seven days from 155 countries, viewing 1.5 million pages. 135 galleries from 35 countries, exhibiting 1,500 works by 1,100 artists, to this broad international audience, VIP Art Fair has a firm position in the cultural calendar. Significantly, VIP 2.0 saw a growth in visitor numbers from key emerging markets, including a 278% increase in visitors from India, 288% UAE, 277% Brazil, 409% Turkey, 319 % Mexico and 456% from Chile.

The participating galleries reported sales to new and existing clients, developed a client base in geographies where they have not had business before, and that their artists were pleased to see them exploring new ways of exhibiting their work. Lisa Kennedy, chief executive of VIP Art Fair, said: “The second edition of the VIP Art Fair has proven itself as a meaningful event that provided access to the most exciting contemporary artists as presented by the world’s most dynamic galleries. The Fair was effective in making connections and providing stimulus that is vital to an active international art market. Building on the success of this year’s Fair, we’re looking forward to holding our next event VIP Paper on 19th – 21st April, as well as VIP Photo (July 12th – 14th) and VIP Vernissage (September 20th – 22nd) later this year.”

Felipe Dmbad, co-founder of Mendes Wood, Sao Paolo said: “VIP Art Fair is such an amazing opportunity for new markets, like Brazil, where the general audience has low access to global contemporary art information. Having the possibility of getting in touch with all the best galleries and artists is priceless. The Fair will educate new markets, and help the development of new collectors and a larger audience.”

Exhibitors capitalised upon the rich potential of the Internet to present artwork of different media.  Featured were 78 museum-scale installation works that took advantage of the unlimited space; 54 video and new media works were available for streaming; as well as almost 400 paintings hanging on booth walls and 300 sculptures shown with multiple views. Magdalena Sawon owner ofPostmasters Gallery, New York who sold William Powhida’s, Exit Interview, 2011 a video artwork to a European foundationsays, “We are especially pleased about the sale of this work, because video is not an easily collected medium and this fair is extremely well suited to present video and new media works.” Conversations trends on Twitter indicate that the presentation of video artworks were very well-received and considered an important offering of the fair.

Galleries demonstrated considerable innovation in curating their online booths. Matthieu Lelièvre, director at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris and Salzburg, says, “Because the Internet is moving so quickly, it was really important for us to show something very current. Not just works, but the entire program. That’s why we presented a worldwide preview as part of an upcoming exhibition of London based artist Raqib Shaw. It was a real preview because no one has seen these works before.  The ultimate in term of novelty is of course Terence Koh’s performance, broadcast live, exclusively for the VIP Art Fair.” On the day of Terence Koh’s performance, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac was the most visited booth.

Following considerable investment in the technology, the second edition focused on building a sense of community at the Fair with visitors logging in 1.5 million page views and saving works 40,000 times, which were shared via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.  VIP 2.0 also proved that it was a flexible and highly responsive to its audience. Over the course of the Fair, the integrated chat messaging system was opened up to the whole community, progressively supporting conversations between visitors and exhibitors.

 VIP 2.0 was a rich resource for the art audience to engage online. Visitors reported being introduced to new galleries (gallery booths logged 810,000 visits); exploring in depth information on artists and artworks, with an estimated 9,050,000 artwork views; enjoying looking at artwork in the privacy of their own environment without distraction; being introduced to new artists, and returning to the fair multiple times to carefully view artworks.

NY collector Amy Phelan writes, “An advantage that the VIP Art Fair has over the ’traditional’ fairs is that you can avoid the chaos of navigating through a maze of booths, and instead simply click on each gallery from a map with great ease. You have the ability to save the works you like to “My Collection,” and return to them once you’ve looked at everything. It’s a great way to compare works from different galleries and decide what you like best.” And Dennis Scholl, collector from Miami and Aspen adds, “I found the VIP Art Fair particularly valuable as a collector for looking at young gallerists’ programs, because in traditional fairs, they are restricted to one artist shows. At VIP 2.0, you could really get a feel for an emerging gallery’s program and the type of work that is their focus. “

David Clements, Chambers Fine Art, New York/Beijing

We’ve been very pleased with our first year participating in the VIP Art Fair, both in terms of the sales that were generated and the connections we’ve established with new collectors from all over the world.  The daily analytics provided by the platform have been especially useful in helping us determine which artworks viewers are responding to.

 Rebecca May Marston, Director of Limoncello, London

We’ve found it super smooth this year. Easy to use. Bonza.  Great for us as we’ve had a heap of other stuff ongoing at the same time. Couldn’t have managed it all with an in the flesh fair.  Chat functions seemed to work well – was good.  We sold from the follow-up phase last year so it remains to be seen the effects of the fair for us financially, but we’ve had some nice stuff said in the press and to us about our studio booth so that’s great. 

Kourosh Nouri, Carbon 12, Dubai

VIP is an incredible platform for establishing contacts, and creating new connections with US (or US based) and European Collectors.

 The quality of data collected about the visitors is very accurate, quantitatively remarkable, and potentially leading to sales, especially in a long run. The fair is the missing complementary element to “classical” art fairs, and exhibitions held at galleries.So far, the experience has been very positive, and must admit that for Carbon 12 located in Dubai, a geographic area with a very limited number of collectors, the fair has opened many conversations with potential collectors for the future. We want to see VIP becoming the “online-Art Basel”. 

 Matthieu Lelièvre, director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

 The gallery Thaddaeus Ropac made the choice of presenting during the 7 days of VIP Art Fair 7 solo-shows, and one live performance of Terence Koh. We wanted to use the VIP Art Fair’s potential for flexibility. Ropac chose not to make a selection with a unique selling objective but wanted to offer to the public the possibility of having the largest vision of our program and our artists. 

VIP Art Fair is a new platform, a brand new interface between a Gallery and its public, new publics that are not normally reachable because on the other side of the world or culturally distant. In these terms, an online art fair is a low investment for an amazing exposure.

 We received interest and inquiries for all the gallery’s shows. We met online some collectors we knew already, and other collectors who randomly discovered our booth. It is too early to know exactly if all these contacts are going to turn into real sales but they are all already concrete and promising, especially with the journalists, the art critics, the curators and institutions. Michael Ward Stout from the Mapplethorpe Foundation also reported an increasing number of direct inquiries at the Foundation following the opening of the VIP artfair and a museum in the United States is very interested to take over the complete exhibition. We had a lot of enthusiastic reactions on Mapplethorpe, Raqib Shaw and Robert Longo. But of course the Internet community was really excited and interested in Terence Koh’s performance, a 24 hour performance of different performers worldwide. It was a fantastic exchange of individuality and spontaneous creation, and a certain challenge.

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