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Can we really .com the art experience?

This week sees the world’s first ever online arts fair.

Live for one week only, Vipartfair.com (with ‘VIP’ here standing for ‘viewing in private’ while also alluding to the quality of the art on sale) boasts work from many of today’s leading artists. Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Gilbert & George are just some of the big names exhibiting work.

Several of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries are involved in this novel approach to the art dealer/collector relationship, including White Cube, Gagosian, Sadie Coles HQ and New York’s Metro Pictures – and they appreciate the wide reach of the internet.

“The gallery is always interested in exploring new ways of reaching a far wider audience for its artists and their work,” said a spokesperson for White Cube.

The online art fair gives collectors the chance to interact with dealers, by having conversations in private rooms. Collectors are also able to zoom in on works they are interested in and learn more about the artists from their bios.

Vipartfair claims to put art at our finger tips (as long as you have lots of money – as more than 50 of the pieces cost $1m+) and replicate the experience of an art fair with its virtual halls and booths of individual galleries.

But can this virtual art encounter possibly replace the experience of visiting a real, physical gallery and seeing a real, physical piece of art that actually hangs there on a real wall? Maybe not, but as more art buyers emerge from across the globe, this is something we should definitely .com and see.