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Inaugural Edition of VIP Art Fair Redefines Possibilities for the Online Art Market
Takashi Murakami, Korin Dokuro, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 59 inches in diameter © Takashi Murakami. Courtesy Blum & Poe.
NEW YORK, NY.- The inaugural edition of VIP Art Fair, the world’s first exclusively online art fair, closed on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The Fair—an acronym for “Viewing in Private”—attracted more than 41,000 collectors and art lovers from 196 countries. Many of the 138 participating contemporary art galleries, hailing from 30 countries and exhibiting works by more than 2,200 artists, reported sales and communications with new clients throughout the nine-day event.

“The galleries showed leadership and courage in joining VIP Art Fair to launch a new global paradigm for art conversation, exposure and commerce,” said James Cohan, co-founder of VIP Art Fair with Jane Cohan, Jonas Almgren and Alessandra Almgren. “Despite some technical setbacks that impinged on our vision for the Fair, we all have much to be proud of in having brought together a diverse international audience who collectively viewed more than 7.65 million artworks. On these measures alone, our inaugural effort confirmed the value and potential of this model. We look forward to working with our galleries in expanding the platform for next year’s VIP Art Fair 2.0.”

GALLERIES
Participating galleries reported making sales and making valuable new contacts.

VIP Art Fair has been an innovative and brave initiative and will be an inevitable part of the future. It is understandable that there would be an establishing process with unforeseen difficulties; however overcoming these will be part of what I believe is a strong future for VIP. I look forward to future developments. – Anna Schwartz, Anna Schwartz (Melbourne, Sydney)

Despite the difficulties of the first days we continued to believe in the VIP Art Fair and we will be happy to participate again next year. – Max Hetzler and Samia Saouma, Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin)

VIP Art Fair has been a successful and extremely interesting experience. I have made so many new contacts, I made some sales, and I am in the middle of concluding some more, all with new clients. Overall, it’s been excellent. It’s a completely new approach to fairs and I think we will be seeing more of this in the future. I think VIP Art Fair is here to stay. – Pilar Corrias, Pilar Corrias Gallery (London)

VIP was a very successful venture for us. Not only did we sell work to new clients (your ultimate goal in any fair), but we connected the dots on long-standing clients who didn't know about certain works by other artists we work with. We look forward to it next year. – Ed Winkleman, Winkleman Gallery (New York)

The VIP Art Fair showed the huge potential there is for a new model of bringing together the art community. We are proud of having supported VIP 1.0. – Daniel Roesler, Galeria Nara Roesler (Sao Paolo)

This sort of exposure is invaluable for an emerging gallery and its artists. I expect to develop an ongoing relationship with a number of these new clients and to see them in the Gallery in the future. VIP Art Fair acknowledges the fact that the Web is an invaluable tool for discovery and learning, this year's Fair did a wonderful job of bringing a great deal of information to a huge number of visitors. Its successes show that this year's Fair was just the beginning. – Susan Inglett, Susan Inglett (New York)

Selected sales highlights during the Fair, as reported to VIP Art Fair by the participating galleries, include:

Sadie Coles HQ (London) sold several works including Rudolf Stingel’s painting Die Birne (2002) between the price range of $500,000-$1,000,000 USD and an Angus Fairhurst sculpture I'm sorry, and I won't do it again (2004) in the price range of £150,000-£200,000 GBP. David Zwirner (New York) sold the sculpture Mary Magdalene (Infinity) (2006) by Chris Offili in the price range of $250,000-$500,000 USD. Alexander and Bonin (New York) sold the sculpture Bourj (2010) by Mona Hatoum in the price range of $100,000-$250,000 USD and the Diango Hernández installation Leg me, chair me, love me (2010) in the price range of $25,000-$50,000 USD. James Cohan Gallery (New York) sold works including Fred Tomaselli’s Study for Night Music for Raptors (2010) in the price range of $100,000-$250,000 USD, and Yinka Shonibare’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Australia, 2008) sold in the price range of £25,000-£50,000 GBP. White Cube (London) sold Christian Marclay’s Sound Holes (2007) in the price range of $50,000-$100,000 USD. John Berggruen Gallery sold a painting by Beatriz Milhazes in the price range of $100,000-$250,000 USD. Anna Schwartz (Melbourne, Sydney) sold a painting by Jan Nelson in the price range of $25,000-$50,000 USD. Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin) sold a large-scale drawing by Toby Ziegler in the price range €5,000-€10,000 EUR. Galleri Nicolai Wallner sold a painting by Christian Schmidt-Rasmussen in the price range of €5,000-€10,000 EUR and LTMH Gallery (New York) sold a painting by Amiri Akhavan in the price range of $10,000-$25,000 USD.

Eleven Rivington (New York) sold works by Michael DeLucia, Caetano de Almeida and TM Davey; IBID Projects (London) sold works by Ross Chilsom and David Adamo; Galeria OMR (Mexico City) sold multimedia work by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; Galeria Nara Roesler (Sao Paolo) sold works by Cao Guimaraes, Paulo Bruscky and Luzia Simons; Galeria Luisa Strina (Sao Paulo) sold works by Carlos Garaicoa, Alessando Baltwo Yazbeck, Mateo Lopez, Renata Lucas and Adrian Villar Rojas; Galerie Bob van Orsouw (Zurich) sold works by Julian Opie; and Galerie Thomas Zander (Cologne) sold photographs by Trevor Paglen.

Among other galleries reporting sales are Ruth Benzacar Galeria de Arte (Buenos Aries), Lisa Cooley (New York), Pilar Corrias Gallery (London), Annet Gelink Gallery (Amsterdam), Kate MacGarry (London), Ota Fine Arts (Tokyo), Untitled (New York), A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro), and Winkleman Gallery (New York).

SITE FEATURES
More than 2,000 artworks on display were viewed over 7.65 million times throughout the VIP Art Fair. Artworks were zoomed into more than 420,000 times, individual artists pages were viewed more than 42,000 times and artwork descriptions were read more than 45,000 times. Videos were viewed more than 23,000 times for a total playtime of more than 1,400 hours. More than 68,000 artist and artwork searches were conducted and visitors looked at an average of 187 artworks over the course of the Fair.

VIP Art Fair planned to employ a chat feature, allowing online dialogue between galleries and interested collectors, but found that it slowed down the performance of the website and was subsequently discontinued for this edition of the Fair. “We were disappointed that the chat did not perform to our expectations,” said co-founder Jane Cohan. “We are redesigning the chat feature and plan to re-launch it for the next VIP Art Fair, as we continue to feel it will revolutionize conversations about collecting art online.”

The site’s VIP Lounge offered behind-the-scenes videos of artists sharing their creative process, as well as leading art collectors who gave video tours of their private residences. Visitors viewed these videos more than 14,000 times. Curators and collectors—including tennis legend John McEnroe, Tate curators Jessica Morgan and Gavin Delahunty, Jens Hoffman, Director of CCA Wattis and co-curator of the 2011 Istanbul Biennial, and Yuka Uematsu, curator at The National Museum of Art, Osaka and commissioner of 2011 Japan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, among others—along with 1,200 visitors created personal tours of the Fair that were shared on the site.



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