VIP Art Fair Launches Online

01/21/2011 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The privacy of a personal computer allows for many a guilty pleasure or a shy curiosity to be satisfied. Before your mind sinks into the gutter, may we reveal -- the VIP Art Fair. The VIP stands for "viewing in private" and yes, its SFW.

A one week long art fair (from January 22 - 30, 2011) with participating galleries from every corner of the globe, the VIP Art Fair is located exclusively online. The number and breadth of galleries that have agreed to participate is enticing - from David Zwirner in New York to White Cube in London and from Xavier Hufkens in Brussels to Hauser & Wirth. It's certainly scintillating to view such coveted catalogues without ever having to go through a TSA screener at the airport.

The first of its kind, this online-only art fair has been praised as much as it has been discussed with not-so-subtle reservation. And for good reason.

On one hand, being able to view artworks from around the world that may not be as readily accessible in person seems an incredible perk of modern times. The VIP Art Fair calls itself an "aggregator" of works with a uniquely interactive and educational component. Their informational video also lauds the fact that, because internet is such an integral part of our lives, this is a natural progression and works well with how we live our lives already.

The flip side is the now-timeless argument between in-person versus online. While the VIP Art Fair offers a "relative scale" so you can gauge the size of a piece as well as plenty of details about the artist and the work, you can't fully take it in online. Can you pore over the texture of the paint or see how the light hits it? In essence, can you fall in love with a piece of art if you're looking at it in a web browser?

Much like the recently launched Art Exchange, the debate about whether or not patrons can really experience art online presses forth. Will this be the dividing factor between disposable-income-collectors and avid studiers who collect only after much thought and gallery-hopping? Or will this type of fair (or exchange) become an accepted norm?

It makes us wonder how the Jetson's collected their art.

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