The recent second attempt at the virtual VIP Art Fair resulted in another slow launch as a next generation art marketplace. While this edition, VIP 2.0, did not have the myriad technical issues of the first try in January 2011, actual sales were reportedly disappointing even with 150,000 site visits.
Exhibitor David Zwirner told Forbes by e-mail, "The fair was unfortunately a waste of time for us this year. We didn’t have any significant traffic in the booth, nor did we meet new collectors. I’m uncertain this format will work moving forward.”
The online-only show featured a respectable 135 exhibitors from 35 countries, and a broad array of works from notable contemporary artists.
Attempts were made to fashion VIP 2.0 like a traditional, brick-and-mortar, art fair. For example, exhibitor websites were called “booths,” a map was provided which mimicked art fair floor plans, and there was even educational programming such as an online tour of a collector's home. Nonetheless, it seems that the online art fair failed to excite the senses, and pocketbooks, of visitors the same way that a traditional art fair can.
In parallel, the Musée d’Orsay has provided an extremely thorough virtual tour for years, even providing context and scale, but that does not stop an average of 15,000 visitors flocking to the museum on a daily basis.
On a positive note, the online VIP Art Fair does create an opportunity for new viewership, allowing those who might not otherwise attend an art fair to join the experience. And there is the ease of browsing inventory from leading galleries worldwide which could result in residual sales after the show which wrapped on Feb. 8.
A promising new venture, VIP Paper, is promoted online for April 19-21, 2012.
(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)