Online art fairs and galleries might be the future. But like all new things, they would see a form of distrust, lack of comfort, and belief in something like this. However, everything has a beginning, and it is great to see that Art Basel is taking a shot at it, even given slow sales.
The pandemic has pushed the evolution of the ways people interact. Online meetings and calls went from unheard of to the only possible option, and the only way to evolve something is to keep trying and learning from every single try.
Even though Art Basel stated sales were slow, they told the exhibitions themselves were quite busy. One possible reason for people not buying is the lack of comfort or experience with online viewing or buying of art, which will change as time goes on and as people experience it more and start getting used to it.
These exhibitions can also be improved with Virtual Reality. This way, the viewing can become a more comfortable and immersive experience. If the experience is easy to use, customers are more likely to contact the representative gallery. This gives them a comfortable environment to view art at their leisure and inquire to see the artwork in person if they find something they enjoy.
Another great thing about such online viewing rooms is that anyone can attend. This pulls away from the barrier that some smaller, up-and-coming galleries might be facing. Since physical art fairs usually cost quite a hefty sum, the costs of getting the art to the fair, the personnel, and other things that smaller up-and-coming galleries may not have so much off to splurge.
The same goes for the smaller online art fairs. They can be marketed and attended globally. Smaller online venues give additional opportunities for emerging artists to showcase work to potential collectors. An online venue also opens the door to communicating directly with artists.
Of course, there are still downsides to online viewing of art. The ability to see detail in a picture, no matter the quality, can’t compare with the human eye. Nothing truly compares to seeing artwork in-person. Seeing the individual brush strokes gives life to each work. The atmosphere and presentation of the art would also be a problem compared to a physical art fair. Overall, there are downsides to everything, and online viewing is a step in the right direction, especially during the infamous virus.