To understand how bad the snow has been on the East Coast, you have to know this: There is no place for the snow to go. Meaning, it’s all well and good to go and shovel out your street/sidewalk/car/driveway, but as you’re standing there with a shovel full of snow, where are you going to put it? In my neighborhood, the snow from the last three storms hasn’t melted yet, and there are piles of snow around that are as tall as I am (and that’s tall!). In order to get to a garbage can this morning after my routine dog-walk, I had to wade into park, which meant going into waist-high drifts of snow, just to throw away my dog’s crap. This is getting a little… intense.
Forecast is for no more snow today (we got a foot+ last night), but more on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The weather forecast stops at Tuesday. I have a pretty good guess of what Wednesday will bring.
I know this makes me a total dork, but I was super excited for the VIP Art Fair. I really think that the future of the art world is online, and honestly – I’m tired of waiting for the future to get here. So, dork that I am, I thought this would be a great way to finally get things going.
Except, by now, you might have heard of some of the problems that the fair has had. With a gazillion people logging in at once, it’s slow to load, but I was sort of expecting that. But I was surprised at some of the other things I encountered. I don’t want this blog post to turn into a rant-fest about all my annoyances with the fair, because that’s not helpful and there’s plenty of other people out there doing it already.
So, okay. Instead of dwelling on all that’s wrong with the fair, I talked to my friend Bryan Campen (web guru and Social Media Director at Manifest Digital) about what could be done to make it better. I gave Bryan a pass so he could check it out, and he was also frustrated by it. But instead of just endless bitching, he had some amazing suggestions that I thought would be great to share.
He starts off with, “This should have been deployed with 3d html5 interactive pieces (even just highlighted pieces, not everything).” I have a sense of what that means, but not exactly. But then he goes into a list of ideas that are perfectly easy to understand, even for me:
- richer web experience, including live video in rotation and easier navigation
- iPad app plus touch navigation around 3d art pieces*
- iPhone app, with regular updates on your favorites
- rolling ticker of purchases, with collectors opting in to tell the online community what they bought**
- a networking function to create sort of serendipitous interactions between galleries and online audience***
- kickass community management on the level of some sort of concierge service****
* YES. Right now, the fair doesn’t work on the iPad, most if not all smartphones, and Internet Explorer. Come on. That’s just silly.
**YES YES YES. That would help with the #1 question I keep hearing people ask: “Is anyone buying at this thing? Is anyone logged on but me?” Whoa, nobody should be asking that.
***I confess, I have no idea what this means. But I hope Bryan will chime in on the comments and flesh it out a bit because hey, it sounds good.
****YES. Look, you go to a regular art fair and you get the lounge. You get to have some coffee, sit in quiet and collect your thoughts, and people watch and socialize. The “lounge” for the VIP fair is… a “room” where you can see pre-recorded tours of the fair. Which is to say, it’s nothing special at all.
My personal suggestions include:
- streaming artist videos. If a gallery is showing a video in their “booth,” why represent it with a still (which is what is set up now)when you can show the whole thing? (or maybe just a section)?
- artists projects designed specifically for the duration/site of the fair. lots of fairs commission an artist to build something in the middle of their atrium or whatever… why not do the same thing with an artist who uses the web as a medium? (also, sound art would be amazing to incorporate into the fair – the point is, make something special so that people have a real reason to log in and be a part of it, other than to simply buy art. ALL of the good fairs do stuff like this – that’s why people go. it’s more than just a shopping mall, it winds up being a fantastic temporary museum.)
- media partners that actually do things. Last I saw (around 9pm Saturday), their official media partner – the Art Newspaper – had yet to update anything on the site. it’s a little hard to drum up excitement when you’re not seeding the conversation.
A better way to display art in each booth so that the relative size is conveyed without making the work look terrible.
For example, look at how dorky the Donald Judd (to the right) looks next to this Dan Flavin (on the left):
Or, an even more extreme example. check out the booth of a gallery that chose to bring very small works:
Those little dots in the middle of the screen? They’re supposed to be photographs. Yes, if you click on them, they enlarge… but to be greeted by this image of these tiny little dots in the middle of an empty page first thing when you click on a gallery is not good. Honestly, I thought their booth was unfinished or that something was wrong with the coding. Or something.
There’s SO much potential for something like this to be great… please please please can we work together to make it that way? And then can it trickle down to make museum sites and artist’s sites so much better and amazing? Because the web has so much to offer.
I curated the Visual and Critical Studies Department senior show! It opens today at the Westside Gallery, 133/141 W21st Street. It’s up until February 5th.
My favorite thing about the show is how varied and different each of the works are. You can really see the individual ideas and personalities of the artists come through in the different pieces. There’s sculpture, printmaking, video, installation, sound, artists’ books, and more, all in this one exhibit. And yet somehow – miraculously! – it’s a really coherent show.
Here’s a few pics from installation and the finished show. Hopefully, I’ll take a few shots at the opening tonight as well.
From top to bottom, that’s: Courtney Linderman installing her flag, Shellyne Rodriguez installing her etchings, Tess Lundgardh’s books on pedestals, Kelly Cabezas’ wall/video installation, a closeup of one of Shellyne’s prints, and an installation view of Courtney’s flag. There’s TONS more work too!!! I don’t take very good pictures.