Looking at art, up close and on my screen

When I look at paintings in a museum, I like to get so close (if the guard will let me) that I can see the texture of the paint on the canvas.  I like to understand the physicality and dimensions of a sculpture, and I like to walk into a gallery and feel completely overwhelmed by the colossal works of art on all sides of me.  But along with so many other aspects of our daily life, this experience (or a near-approximation of it) is going online.

Though obviously physical works of art and the museums and galleries that display them aren’t going anywhere, the art world is entering a digital age with new online forums for displaying, buying, and looking at art.  One example is the VIP Art Fair 2.0, which took place in February.  As the name suggests, it was an art fair—with different galleries opening booths to showcase their artists—in digital form.  Art collectors could peruse these booths as they would at a traditional art fair, view details of works of art, and even see a figure pop up on the screen to gauge the scale of a piece.  And just like at a traditional fair, people can drop tens of thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of dollars on a work of art.

Of course, I’m no collector (and definitely not one to spend $50,000, let alone $200 on an item online), but I think this is potentially a pretty cool way to discover art.  I would say it makes these sorts of events more accessible, though there still seems to be a kind of “insider” attitude (I balked when I tried to register and was asked what my art affiliation was—there was no option for “just kind of curious”).  But as I’ve said, there’s a plethora of different ways to experience art and access the art world.  Personally, I’d rather admire art in the flesh than live vicariously through a little digital figure on the screen.  But with this internet art movement (which Artsnapper, itself, is certainly a part of), there is a whole new world of possibility for ways to interact with art.

Read more about V.I.P. Art Fair 2.0 here: “An Art Expo on the Web, Virtual Fairgoer Included” – The New York Times


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