I have to admire Bartley and Company's new virtual art gallery. In a year where Wellington has had major dealer galleries open doors, relocate, expand, and disappear completely, it's a progressive and bold move to develop an exhibition space where people can't lean against a work, drink loads of free wine, rifle through the stock room, or berate the staff about the qualities or otherwise of a particular work or artist.
I'm just not at all convinced by the format. The screen grab above, for example, is of the inaugural exhibition, but it's all text. Maybe I'm missing the point, but I still think art sells art, not the artist's statement, be it in a real or a virtual exhibition space.
And I'm inclined to take issue with their press release, stating their first exhibition "will be the first by an established artist presented online in New Zealand". Perhaps solely online, but I can think of dozens of dealer galleries that have been offering a comparable and online exhibition experience above and beyond a physical exhibition for years.
As an aside, I wonder whether a virtual gallery takes a bigger or smaller slice of the final sale price?