VIP Online Art Fair

VIP, the fist Online Art Fair, opened at 8am EST, January 22, 2011.

Hosting 137 booths, VIP was divided into four exhibition halls – Premier Large and Premier Medium for leading galleries, Focus presenting 23 galleries each showing only 8 works by single artists, and Emerging presenting works created within the last 2 years by emerging artists.

The fair was highly criticized for the tech glitches, like the chat function not working, and the slow server due to overwhelming traffic.

My own criticism is that while users could “favorite” work or share their collections, but this information was only available during the course of the fair. After the closing of the fair, all the “favorite” information was lost and not retrievable by the user.

VIP was a information and sensory overload, with the click through scrolling and size scaling of the images, artist bios and CVs, gallery history, pricing, sizing, pop up windows and drop down menus.

Compelled by the urge to click and read about every galleries, artist, and info bubble possible, I spent 3 hours just clicking and browsing before attempting to look at anything seriously.

One true pleasure was experiencing video art. Personally a tough critic of video works – I was impressed by the sound, quality, presentation and streaming of video work. Truly enjoyable experience to actually watch and experience video works on the VIP Fair platform – admittedly video that I would likely skip over at traditional fair.

As a non-traditional fair, many of the galleries used this forum to explore and expand the boundaries of the “fair” concept.

Untitled Gallery offered Brendan Fowler performance at the price range of $0-5000.

Where other galleries uploaded high resolution images and videos, Limoncello Gallery used tiny Polaroid images displaying the works for sale, forcing the visitor to click and zoom into each one in order to see them. Though an interesting motivation, I do not think this was so effective.

As e-commerce presents new platforms for artists, gallerists, and collectors to view and acquire art, I believe that the art fair should retain its integrity as a physical forum to meet and experience the art world first hand.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: