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 theyre at the gallery in real time, walking around, browsing, approaching a work of art, getting up-close-and-personal, whether its 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 robots 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 JPEGs and viewing rooms, and want to actually visit the gallerys 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 gallerys NYC location at Hudson Yards as well as its Miami location are staffed for this program by appointment only.
During the experience, the users face appears on the robots screen similar to how one does while Facetiming or video chatting, allowing an eye-level conversation to take place with the gallerys 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 thats quite unprecedented.
This initiative is part of Avant Gallerys 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 Were adding another dimension to retail. When asked about this project, Prut said: Its part of an ongoing effort to stay abreast in technology and customer experience solutions. During these challenging times were able to connect with our clients in a whole new way and bring them back inside our establishment. Through 4D and our partners were 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 its sales team with customers via videochat apps, just ahead of Apples Facetime launch via the iPhone. In other tech-driven initiatives, in 2013 Avant was the sole Florida gallery to partner with Amazons art program, and in 2014 the gallery premiered a VR app, at the forefront of the art industry at the time.