The first online art fair featuring top international dealers, artists and prime location galleries, launched today with overloaded servers and the type of crashes only experienced when trying to buy Lady Gaga tickets online. “Please bear with us, as we work to remedy this situation”; was the frustrating message.
I persevered and managed to have a look at the ‘virtual fair’, cracking into some of the better-known galleries like Gagosian, White Cube and Pace but the slowness made me lose interest before browsing what I really wanted to see, the ‘Emerging’ and ‘Focus’ pages. I will be back again tomorrow, as the fair continues for seven days.
The VIP Art Fair operates on a two-tier system. Participating galleries have sent invitations to their client lists, allowing them instant-messaging privileges. This also allows access to a wider variety of works not on show on the horizontally scrolling, virtual stands. The largest booths publicly display 20 works. The remaining 80 works on offer will be by request, opening up a dialogue between client and dealer. Valued clients may chat in private in online viewing rooms. Visitors without invitations will be able to browse a limited inventory, for free but in order to view all areas the public must pay $100 for a pass, to see price ranges and interact with dealers, via instant messaging.
I support this venture and think that the organizers have created a clean easy to navigate website. The work is Frieze/Art Basel quality and I do think that this is the way forward, in buying art on the Internet. I don’t think it will replace traditional art fairs. I am a firm believer that art must be seen in the flesh before purchasing. Art is not like other commodities, as many people would like us to think. First of all most pieces, other than multiples, are unique and successful collectors buy and live with the work they are purchasing. If anything VIP is a good barometer highlighting which artists the industry insiders rate. The art market movers and shakers have finally grasped 21st century technology and I feel that there is a future in VIP style fairs. It is also important as more art buyers emerge from Russia, China and the Middle East; the ability to reach collectors around the globe quickly is imperative. Dealers must also find new ways to engage a younger generation and encourage them to explore the art market, without this there are no future collectors. In the not so distant past, the larger Art Fairs were ‘trade only’ ventures. They were limited in their public appeal and never the glitzy extravaganzas that they have become today. Art fairs are social gatherings and much of their success is due to the pressure of walking around and seeing who is there and what they are buying. It creates an atmosphere similar to an auction, feeding frenzy. VIP if anything challenges the way in which we traditionally buy art. The question remains, is this stylish format really different from other art shopping baskets? The quality speaks for itself, I am not a Luddite and strongly believe that the Internet is a progressive force to be reckoned with and I can see fairs like VIP successfully working alongside bricks and mortar Fairs in the future.
David Zwirner New York Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin White Cube London Gagosian Gallery New York, London, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens Gallery Koyanagi Tokyo Hauser & Wirth Zürich, London, New York Anna Schwartz Gallery Melbourne, Sydney Xavier Hufkens Brussels Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco Kukje Gallery Seoul Sadie Coles HQ London James Cohan Gallery New York, Shanghai Alexander and Bonin New York John Berggruen Gallery San Francisco Brooke Alexander Gallery New York Ruth Benzacar Galería De Arte Buenos Aires Peter Blum Gallery New York Blum & Poe Los Angeles Marianne Boesky New York Chi-Wen Gallery Taipei Eslite Gallery Taipei Faurschou Copenhagen Fortes Vilaça São Paulo Stephen Friedman Gallery London Gladstone Gallery New York Greenberg Van Doren Gallery New York, St. Louis Gallery Hyundai Seoul Susan Inglett New York Sean Kelly Gallery New York Johann König Berlin David Kordansky Gallery Los Angeles L & M Arts New York, Los Angeles Yvon Lambert Paris, New York Lehmann Maupin Gallery New York Mizuma Art Gallery Tokyo Galerie Lelong New York, Paris Lisson Gallery London Luhring Augustine New York McKee Gallery New York Anthony Meier Fine Arts San Francisco Galeria OMR Mexico City Ota Fine Arts Tokyo Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin Paris, Miami PKM Gallery Seoul, Beijing Galerie Almine Rech Brussels, Paris Yancey Richardson Gallery New York Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Sydney Galleria Lia Rumma Milan, Naples Salon 94 New York SCAI The Bathhouse Tokyo Schönewald Fine Arts Düsseldorf ShangART Shanghai Galeria Luisa Strina São Paulo Sprüth Magers Berlin, London Timothy Taylor Gallery London STPI Singapore Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects Los Angeles Michael Werner Gallery New York, Berlin