Monday, January 17, 2011

Countdown to VIP Art Fair

It's the sort of venture that makes people perhaps a touch uncomfortable (as evidenced by nothing so much as all the puns used in the headlines of press about it), but as it approaches and those of us who have been preparing the virtual booths compare notes, I'm getting very excited about the VIP Art Fair. It opens this Saturday:
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 request an invitation in advance.
VIP Art Fair is admittedly an experiment. How well it's going to work remains to be seen. The press so far has been overwhelmingly positive, but it has also included quotes from a few folks who are not sure it's right for them. If you feel that way, I'd humbly suggest you try it in the privacy of your home, where no one can see, and judge the experience yourself once it's live. The organizers are as smart and tireless as any I've ever seen attempt a venture like this; so you just might be pleasantly surprised. Besides, you can do it in your pajamas, if you like, or naked, or covered in jello. No one needs to know.

Moreover, on your schedule, you can reach out to the galleries for real-time information about the artists you're interested in via chat, Skype, or that quainter digital communication format, email. Here are three screenshots to provide a sneak peek at our booth and how the site delivers information. You can't get the full interactive effect from these, obviously, but they hopefully convey a sense of how much info visitors will have access to. The first shows one 'wall' of our booth with a ghosted figure to indicate scale of the installation by Jennifer Dalton:

Additional views of the work appear at the bottom right. You can zoom in on the work to see incredible details. This screenshot below shows only 1/2 of the zoom capacity of the 4th additional view from this work (for paintings and drawings you can zoom in to see brush strokes and gestures). The ease of zooming in and out is one of the most user-friendly parts of the VIP experience:

There is also a wealth of information about each artist available at your a format much easier to use than what you can normally access in an art fair context. We've even had the time to translate our texts (VIP is global in its scope), so you can read about Jennifer Dalton, if you prefer, in Spanish or Russian:

A week from now, we'll all have much more information about how the VIP Art Fair has been received and what the participating visitors and galleries think about this bold new frontier. Right now, I'm kind of giddy with anticipation. Yes, I'm a geek like that, but I'll encourage you again to give it try. I suspect you'll like it.

Labels: vip art fair


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is so bold about it? It is basically what different art sites have been doing since 1998. You know, all those art sites that some of the same people involved with this project have put down over the years.

1/17/2011 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Come on anonymous, give it a chance to see if it's different, will ya? If after you've spent some time on it, you feel the same way, come back and let us know. Deal?

1/17/2011 05:02:00 PM  
OpenID thepurposeofart said...

I just checked out the site and was very impressed with the interface as well as the obvious thought that went into organizing such an event. I am interested to see what if any impact this has on art fair culture. With your interests in mind, I hope that the expereince opens up many opportunites for you and your artists.

I think this idea of an in depth private viewing (albeit removed from the actual work) allows both expereinced as well as new collectors a beneficial opportunity to process their decisions. I think being removed from the gallery space may actually lend the expereince to being more about the wok as strange as that sounds. If I had the money to be a collector of any serious credibility, I think that I would really like this format. Of course it does not replace interacting with a work in person prior to purchasing it, but for a new or an expereinced collector it does offer an interesting perspective to the process of acquiring art.

There's no shame in being geeked about the possibilities for this event, so I hope it exceeds your expectations...let us know how it turns out!

1/17/2011 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous justin said...

It will be interesting to see how this changes pricing, and what impact it might have on the work (what kind of art might lend itself to this format?).

1/18/2011 02:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Luuk Christiaens said...

Really looking forward. I am pretty sure ViP will have some unforeseen positive outcomes for both parties, galleries as well as collectors. Let's hope that the feedback from this one week web experiment will lead to a decisive breakthrough in the way galleries present themselves and communicate on-line about their artists.
With 130+ leading galleries worldwide participating, it's a unique opportunity for gallery owners to test in real time and on a significant scale what information visitors are really looking for and what makes them decide. Success!

1/18/2011 09:01:00 AM  

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