The second edition of the online VIP Art Fair opened yesterday with a preview launching on Thursday. Featuring 135 international exhibitors the fair received over 10,000 unique hits in the preview day alone – with 54,000 people registered so far and the number steadily climbing. The tech glitches of last year are a distant memory of the past and celebrating its first birthday – the fair holds great promise for the future of online art sales.
Browsing the booths, I was impressed to find that the focus this year was heavily on video art with premier galleries and emerging art spaces alike utilizing the format as a platform for showcasing film and video works. Video is seldom presented at fairs, given the cost of space and the fleeting attention spans of the viewers. The ability to play the works full screen and get a survey of where the medium stands at the moment is very effective and unique to the online browsing format.
James Cohan Gallery chose to present Bill Viola’s three channel video of landscape and figure titled Poem A, ($200,000 – $250,000) while Marian Goodman highlights Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s Vaaksauora – Horizontal, made of 6 recombined video segments depicting a sweeping pine seen on its side ($65,000 – $100,000). Epitomizing this trend, Elizabeth Dee Gallery showed a booth exclusively made of video works and artist interviews with Jeff Keen, Miriam Cahn and Ryan McNamara. Galerie Thaddeus Ropac presented a 24-hour, 24-country live-streamed performance by Terence Koh – LIGHTNING STRIKING AT BOTH ENDS OF A THOUGHT, which took the viewers into private spaces around the globe for an intimate and at times bizarre dioramas.
The online fair has many great features worth exploring, including virtual tours as well as interactive maps which allow the visitor to plot their own route and share curated ‘playlists’ of artworks with others. Additionally, there are two new spaces to explore: a special Focus section where galleries present exhibits of a single artist and the Editions and Multiples hall where visitors can find artist editions published by museums and institutions. There are some great deals to be found in the latter section, such as an etching by Baldessari, Heart (with Pearls), available for merely $2,500 from the Independent Curators International booth.
The fair is free to sign up for and runs until February 8, 2012. Elena will be reporting on the sales and reactions as the fair continues. @elenasoboleva