Joanne Wilson, also known as the Gotham Gal, has some comments on the VIP Art Fair that worth noting not only because she collects emerging artists but she has more familiarity than most about the online world, its strengths and weaknesses.
The site was not exactly user friendly. One of the major points of being online and looking at art is that you don’t have to talk to anyone. You can look around at your own leisure. The site that was created forced the potential customer or anyone who was just curious to engage with the gallery if you had any questions on the artist or price of the piece you were looking at. In essence creating the same type of exclusivity that people feel walking into a gallery or walking an art fair. There is generally not an air of community in art galleries. People who are working there definitely don’t do the meet and greet with an open smile on their face. The beauty of being on line is anyone can feel comfortable strolling through the galleries and learning. By doing that, the art world could put their guard down a little and perhaps build a larger community of collectors as people find an interest in art and find that they have a desire to really collect large expensive pieces of well known artists over time.
Each gallery, on the site put up work from a variety of artists that they represented. Each artist was given a small bio and a price range of their work. I had no idea what the price was of the particular piece I was looking at. A price range of $50 – $150K is quite large. I had no interest in clicking on the link to have a conversation with one of the people at the gallery. I wanted to find a few pieces that I might have liked and know exactly what they cost. I could have put them in some type of folder to go back to later and see what I liked, what each piece cost, and learn about each artist and what gallery represents them. It would have been great to have more information on the artist which is easily linked to online. Saving this information for later and maybe going directly to each galleries website or stopping by on a trip to Chelsea or whever they are located. Most people don’t take a stroll through a gallery and just decide to plop down $150K even if they are a big collector. Galleries know that.
Wilson’s point of view is valid. But it should also be mentioned that collectors do also feel comfortable spending $150,000 and more bidding on Christie’s and Saffronart.
Last Week’s VIP Art Fair (Gotham Gal)