Art Fair Moves Online

It was just a matter of time before an art fair was held in cyberspace. That time is now: the first international art fair is live from Jan 22 to 30, 2011. VIP Art Fair can be found at

The fair brings together around 140 galleries from 30 countries. Art world heavy hitters, emerging artists and tiers of galleries can be found with a click of a mouse. But bring patience—images can be slow to appear. The VIP website pronounces this on its front page and attributes delays to heavy attendance at the fair.

The online fair channels the experience of attending an art fair and combines it with online browsing. Art can be viewed according to artist or gallery booth. Viewing is free after site registration. Information on exhibiting artists and galleries is accessible with a mouse click. Price lists and art fair experiences (like a VIP lounge) and communication with gallery directors are part of the fair with ticket admission of $20 (after January 24).

Gallery line-up includes Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Lelong, The Pace Gallery, Marlborough Gallery, White Cube in London, Yvon Lambert in Paris and New York and others.

Artists include Francis Bacon, Marina Abramovic, Sophie Calle, Petah Coyne, Damien Hirst, Matthew Barney, Kiki Smith, Alice Neel, Urs Fischer and Nir Hod.

Artists with Long Island connections include John Chamberlain (Shelter Island), Barbara Kruger (East Hampton, NYC & LA), Eric Fischl (North Haven), Chuck Close (Bridgehampton), Cindy Sherman (Sag Harbor and NYC) and Julian Schnabel (Montauk, NYC and Spain). Historic artists include James Brooks (1906-1992) of East Hampton, Ray Johnson (1927-1955) of Locust Valley and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) of Springs.

The list of galleries doesn’t include Long Island representation. However, Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery (LTMH Gallery) of New York exhibited some of the same artists in a gallery show held at the Tripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art in Southampton last summer. Artists include Shoja Azari, Roya Akhavan, Reza Derakshani, Rachel Hovnanian, Alexis Laurent and Negar Akhami.

LTMH gallery director Anahita Varzi noted the online format allows people to explore Middle Eastern art without a long journey.

“The VIP Art Fair will be an exceptional opportunity for our international clients to see new work by our artists and have an interactive experience with us—without having to buy an airline ticket,” Varzi wrote in a gallery press release. “We also hope to develop new relationships with collectors who have an interest in contemporary Middle Eastern art and our international emerging artists.”

There are at least a few crossovers between viewing the art online and in person. LTMH Gallery opened a solo show of Turkish artist Kezban Arca Betibeki at the NYC gallery. Coincidentally, the Nassau County Museum of Art’s Contemporary Gallery opened a solo exhibition by artist Donald Baechler on January 22. Baechler has one work in the fair represented by Cheim & Read of NYC. The museum show runs through May 8.

Yvon Lambert in New York and Paris has a dual exhibition opening at both their galleries on January 20. They include art fair artists Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Marina Abramovic and Paul McCarthy. The artists are not necessarily represented by Yvon Lambert in the VIP Art Fair.

The VIP Art Fair was launched by James Cohan of James Cohan Gallery in New York and Shanghai with his partner, Jane Cohan, and Jonas and Alessandra Almgren. The online event was three years in the making and aims to present “the best contemporary art from anywhere in the world,” wrote James Cohan in a press release.

“By using the traditional art fair as a model, VIP Art Fair offers entrée to the most critically acclaimed artists and the leading dealers who represented them,” he stated in the document. “This new platform allows collectors to see the art, learn about the art and also understand how to acquire the art.”

The VIP Art Fair is sandwiched between the London Art Fair and ARCOmadrid. The fairs are held
Jan. 19 – 23, 2011 and Feb. 16 – 20, 2011 respectively.

Roya Akhavan, After the Battle, 2010

Kezban Arca Batibeki, Light Blue II, 2010

pat rogers

Pat Rogers is a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture on Long Island. When not going to art openings or interviewing actors or musicians, she’s looking for the next interesting story.