Monday 24 January 2011

World's First Online Art Fair

The inaugural VIP Art Fair, which describes itself as "the first art fair to mobilize the collective force of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries with the unlimited reach of the Internet" is being held this week only from 22-30 January 2011.

Taking place at, the VIP Art Fair aims to give contemporary art collectors access to artworks by critically acclaimed artists and the ability to connect one-on-one with internationally renowned dealers—from anywhere in the world and without leaving home.

Most of the details, including how to register to browse the art (which is free) can be found here. Glaringly omitted, at least at the registration stage, are the terms and conditions of sale. Indeed, according to this report, Noah Horowitz, the director of the VIP Art Fair has said that: "Exactly how transactions are conducted at the point of sale are entirely in the hands of buyer and seller; VIP simply helps to connect one party to the other....This means that purchases could happen without either side meeting each other in person or without the buyer seeing the actual work in the flesh prior to purchase." In other words, VIP is not offering an art auction type service, a la eBay or Christie's Live - but merely a forum, much like the London Art Fair, except that it is a virtual venue.

From a legal standpoint, it can be very risky to not have the legal terms set out from the beginning - particularly when trading valuable art. So, while this is a potentially exciting development, both purchasers and vendors of art via this service should be cautious and ensure they are protected. There will be no third party in the background ensuring the transparency of the transactions.

Source:, 21 January 2011

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