Monday, August 23, 2010

Dealer James Cohan Launches ‘VIP Art Fair,’ Virtual Emporium for Armchair Buyers

In a radical twist on the art fair model, the new VIP Art Fair will exist only online, catering to busy collectors weary of the cost and hassle of traveling. It’s Second Life meets Gilt Groupe for the art biz.

Seasoned Chelsea dealer James Cohan has teamed up with Internet entrepreneur Jonas Almgren, to launch the fair, according to art market sources. The event is being billed as the “first ever” virtual art fair.

The first edition is slated for January, usually a quiet time in the gallery sale cycle. The fair is comprised of virtual stands priced $4,000 to $20,000, according to sources. The fair will be timed, and we believe, last for one week, like timed sales mounted by online retailers on member-only sites such as Gilt Groupe and Ru La La. (A VIP Art Fair web page, with a snazzy black and white logo, has been set up, but the site is not yet live. The fair also has a Facebook page with 22 fans).

Cohan already has signed aboard an impressive group of international dealers, despite a hefty booth price, the concept’s novelty and the dreary economy.

Participating dealers are thought to include Barbara Gladstone, Luhring Augustine, Yancey Richardson, David Zwirner, Marianne Boesky and Hauser & Wirth.

The venture will test collectors willingness to spend serious money on art acquisitions initiated online. While details have been difficult to pin down, here is what we surmise about how the fair will work: a select group of collectors will be permitted to browse the web-based fair anonymously, so that even dealers won’t know when a potential buyer has cruised a stand, according to sources. A collector may contact the dealer with queries and make an appointment to see the artwork in person if so desired. Exhibiting dealers are also permitted to have backroom spaces, like usual art fairs.

James Cohan, proprietor of the James Cohan Gallery, operates branches on West 26th Street in New York and Shanghai. The gallery is known for a strong roster of contemporary artists including Bill Viola, Beatriz Milhazes and Yinka Shonibare.

Jonas Almgren is founder and CEO of One Art World, a website combining gallery listings, online art sales and auction information.

via: Lindsay Pollack.

1 comment:

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