Avant Gallery offers avatar robot experience to connect with collectors

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, June 13, 2024

Avant Gallery offers avatar robot experience to connect with collectors
Telepresence robot, the robot’s human height and 13MB camera enables the user an immersive, ultra-wide field of view without sacrificing visual detail.

NEW YORK, NY.- Last week Avant Gallery has started to test-pilot a telepresence robot, allowing collectors to visit the gallery remotely by taking complete control of the robot as an “avatar”, or Avantar as one client began to playfully refer to it, from the comfort of their home. Essentially this allows the client to feel like they’re at the gallery in real time, walking around, browsing, approaching a work of art, getting up-close-and-personal, whether it’s a painting on a wall, or circling around a sculpture atop a pedestal and viewing it from all angles. Using this technology the gallery just sold a sculpture and a commission ($80,000) by Will Kurtz, and a pair of paintings ($70,000) by Skyler Grey.

The robot’s human height and 13MB camera enables the user an immersive, ultra-wide field of view without sacrificing visual detail. Client is granted access by setting an appointment with the gallery, and is provided a dedicated link and password to log on via a computer or smartphone. Currently Avant is offering this service to its existing clientele who show serious interest in acquiring, beyond seeing JPEG’s and viewing rooms, and want to actually “visit” the gallery’s physical location via mobile embodiment, which requires a gallery representative to be present at the location in order to assist with the experience. As we face the COVID-19 lockdown, social distancing, and limited accessibility, the gallery’s NYC location at Hudson Yards as well as its Miami location are staffed for this program by appointment only.

During the experience, the user’s face appears on the robot’s screen similar to how one does while Facetiming or video chatting, allowing an eye-level conversation to take place with the gallery’s art consultant and engage in dialogue about the art they are viewing together. The guest can also be given a guided gallery tour, where the collector actually follows the art consultant by controlling the robot, strolling along in a very lifelike manner that’s quite unprecedented.

This initiative is part of Avant Gallery’s new 4D™ program (stands for 4th Dimension) which is a project founded by gallery owner and entrepreneur Dmitry Prut. The website for 4D (www.4Dretail) currently only has a page-holder with a slogan that says “We’re adding another dimension to retail”. When asked about this project, Prut said: “It’s part of an ongoing effort to stay abreast in technology and customer experience solutions. During these challenging times we’re able to connect with our clients in a whole new way and bring them back inside our establishment. Through 4D™ and our partners we’re also planning to offer this technology to other businesses once we complete our case study at Avant Gallery.”

In 2012 Avant launched Arteleport, a solution to connect it’s sales team with customers via videochat apps, just ahead of Apple’s Facetime launch via the iPhone. In other tech-driven initiatives, in 2013 Avant was the sole Florida gallery to partner with Amazon’s art program, and in 2014 the gallery premiered a VR app, at the forefront of the art industry at the time.

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