John Baldessari, 2623 Third Street, Santa Monica, 2000, suite of four color lithographs with screenprint, overall dimensions 54 x 54 inches, edition of 61, Brooke Alexander Gallery
As the world’s first online only art fair, VIP has experienced major growing pains since it’s launch in 2011, with many collectors frustrated by tech glitches and dealers reporting low traffic and sales as a result. While the site’s capacity and interface issues are well known and improving, the question of whether the term “online art fair” is an oxymoron continues to be raised. To our minds, this is largely a semantic issue; regardless of what one wants to call it, VIP simply represents yet another web-based opportunity for those who have the art to show it to those who don’t (see our previous post on other online art-buying venues such as Paddle8 and Phillips de Pury, linked below), and the success or failure of any online platform will most likely depend on practical concerns such as whether the art is shown to best effect (sharp, high-resolution, colour-correct images, intuitive and glitch-free scalability, easy and consistent bookmarking for collecting, comparing, and return visits), whether the artwork information is complete, correct, and actually informative, and whether dealers are ready and willing to operate in a more transparent, service-oriented manner (responding to inquiries in a timely fashion, making pricing and availability information accessible, and instituting reasonable return policies where possible, since art sometimes has a way of not actually looking like it does onscreen) which is appropriate to dealing with the wider, more diverse audience that an online platform presumably draws. Improvements in any of these areas would be a welcome development.
VIP Paper, a spin-off of the larger fair focusing on drawings, prints, and editions, launched this week and will continue through the 21st. We aren’t in the market so we can’t comment on VIP dealer practices and policies here, but we can say that the site still needs more work with regard to its interface and capacity. The achingly long wait times for loading and scaling of images did improve noticeably right around 4:30pm, but remained on the slow side for the rest of the evening. Then there were glitches with respect to image sizes and quality (low-resolution, bad crops), insufficient artwork information, and broken links (presumably artworks that had been sold were removed from the site, but previews remained, confusing matters—it would have been far preferable for sold works to remain where they were, marked as such, for the benefit of would-be collectors and return visitors, like us).
All that having been said, a venue like VIP is still a wonderful opportunity to see what’s out there right now, find works one hasn’t seen by artists one knows, and discover artists and galleries one doesn’t yet know. In this spirit, for your viewing pleasure, we selected 44 works from today’s offerings which made us want to know more, including works on paper by Raymond Pettibon, Louise Bourgeois, Agnes Martin and Richard Long. A few are featured below; the entire collection can be viewed on our Pinterest page, 44 from the Virtual Floor, linked below.
David Ireland, untitled (small cement work), not dated, cement on paper, 20 x 30 x 1/2 inches,
Gallery Paule Anglim
See our entire collection of works on paper at our Pinterest page, 44 from the Virtual Floor
See more works available at the VIP Art Fair: Paper
Read informative reviews of the VIP Art Fair on Hyperallergic
See our previous post featuring online art-buying venues, If I Had a Million Dollars