VIP 2.0: and Fairs Became Virtual

February 6, 2012

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About this time of year, at the same time as ARCO, we are overcome by a strange sensation. The most unfortunate memories from last year are re-enacted in our head while our hands throw themselves towards the keyboard to buy a pair of tickets (along with the catalogue). The thing is, art fairs stir in us mixed feelings of enthusiasm and sorrow. On the one hand, there is the fascination of verifying how art moves the masses and how there are always new or old talents who give a meaning to meaning. But on the other hand, there is all the rest: saturation, crowds and the sound of tills.

Until the 8th of February we can enjoy VIP 2.0, a virtual art fair that with its second edition restates that it is here to stay. More than 130 exhibitors from 35 countries show almost 1500 pieces on the window shop of our screen after a simple registration process. With no haste, no crowds and no backache. You can search by medium, region, artist or price; attend conferences, visit galleries or create itineraries with your favourite pieces and share them on social networks (you can also follow itineraries created by eminences such as Yinka Shonibare, Alban de Pury or Jens Hoffmann). Now, art is certainly expensive, very expensive: several of the pieces are worth more than a million dollars. Those of us who will leave the fair empty-handed will have the consolation of having been able to rummage through pieces –with the price tag on– by star artists like Warhol, Baldessari, Mona Hatoum, Ai Weiwei, William Kentridge or Yayoi Kusama.

VIP 2.0. encourages to reconsider the traditional exhibition model and makes the most of the digital environment in which it is shown, although one can miss exactly the same thing we reject from every fair. There is a reason why this word refers both to a commercial event of great importance and to the ensemble of carousels, circus and cork shooting stalls.

The truly amusing will always be the second sense and that is why, in the end, we repeat year after year.

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