Online Viewing Rooms


    The art market, due to COVID-19, faces a new challenge and does not stop, becoming virtual thanks to the online viewing rooms.

    The Online Viewing Rooms are virtual rooms that recreate existing or unpublished environments to exhibit works of art and encourage online “visits” at trade fairs, exhibitions or major exhibitions for collectors, sector operators or art lovers.

    After the closure of art fairs and galleries all over the world, today the online viewing rooms offer the concrete possibility of making the works visible, becoming new sales channels for the art market.

    This is how it went with Art Basel Hong Kong, first fair to be canceled, which inaugurated its digital edition at the end of March thanks to the online viewing rooms, with the participation of 233 exhibitors.

    The results were important in terms of sales and virtual visitors: Art Basel attracted over 250,000 visitors (the last edition of the fair had registered about 88,000 visitors) who were able to view over 2,000 works of art, for a total value of about 253 Millions of dollars.

    Before Art Basel Hong Kong, in 2017 it was the German gallery owner David Zwirner who launched the use of online viewing rooms, creating 55 online exhibitions, followed by Gagosian the following year.

    Zwirner discovered the potential of the platform after predicting the growth of the online market, a forward-looking intuition that was reflected in the latest report released by Art Basel and UBS by Clare McAndrew.

    Today more and more galleries are adapting to the “digital revolution” taking place in the art world to avoid economic collapse.

    In these days, there is no shortage of initiatives to support small galleries, such as the one promoted by Zwirner called PLATFORM, which sees the sharing of a virtual gallery with 12 young galleries in New York for 1 month, which can directly manage requests and sales without paying participation fees or commissions on the works sold.

    Although the experience of virtual visit to the stand of a gallery at the fair or that of an exhibition through online viewing rooms can never replace the physical one, at the moment, it is the only alternative capable of bringing some benefits.

    Let’s see them in detail:


    The online allows a new network of collectors to emerge from many parts of the world, where the gallery does not have its headquarters and does not usually sell. Furthermore, with the birth of new art fairs, what many collectors and professionals have called “fairtigue” has emerged, a condition of exhaustion caused by participation in too many fairs, for which virtual visits could be a cure-all.


    The online viewing rooms not only allow you to view and acquire works of art, but offer the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the works and artists thanks to extra content such as videos, interviews, critical readings, biographies and even virtual tours.


    Contrary to what happens in fairs, online viewing rooms clearly show the prices of the works, making the market, usually defined opaque, more transparent and accessible. They also allow the most prominent collectors to see as many works as possible by going from one virtual room to another, and then make their purchases in total privacy.


    Environmental concerns have also become the new imperative for the art world. To privilege online means to drastically reduce the carbon emissions deriving, for example, from air transport and shipments to the fair.


    The online presence could be a saving solution for low budget galleries, thus going to invest their budget in the development of digital resources, reducing the huge costs incurred for participation in fairs all over the world.

    And you, are you ready to discover the potential of online?


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