Right to express, whether it be from politics to a form of art; the pandemic has unquestionably silenced the normality we have grown accustomed to. Art, as a vessel of communicating, has uncommonly adapted to this pandemic as an opportunity of widening its stage. Over the course of the lockdown, art has shifted from traditional styles such as canvases to digital exhibitions and online galleries. Despite numerous smaller galleries struggling to survive, artists have found creative ways to be inspired by the current situation.Online alternatives to showcase art have also developed as the earlier events aided newer opportunities to flourish in unprecedented times.
Over the years, demand for galleries has skyrocketed: which in turn has improved sales for them. But what is interesting is even after being hit by Covid 19, galleries have been able to sustain demand levels if not increase them. Lockdown was a difficult time for everyone, however, what kept everyone sane was trying new things. Exploring new hobbies. Art becomes one of the most popular activities taking place in everyone’s home. This meant that to keep up with this, galleries started exposing works of artists through an online presence. In line with this, David Zwirner’s opinion also mentions a progression for the art market as they begin to search for better alternatives by producing a perfect USP (Unique selling point). Despite this optimistic statement, Art Basel reports the art market is lagging with only 9% of market share compared to the online retail sector with 14-22% market share. With this in mind, the coronavirus cultivated a perfect opportunity for art lovers to utilize online tools as a starting point to buy art. Furthermore by keeping an online presence “adds a silver lining by broadening the audience range meanwhile negating the drawback of extensive fees for an entry to an art fair” claims Singulart Magazine. The best part is people can tap into events much more easily without fearing entry to auction houses or art galleries. Owing to this, Art Basel’s response to the Hong Kong virtual fair was exquisite. It attracted 250,000+ visitors compared to the 88,000 who attended the fair the earlier year. Similarly, the show at New york saw solid robust sales for mega galleries. According to the fair director, more people logged 15 minutes prior to the VIP preview online this year than who walked into the fair last year. As a result, this suggests the leading success of art by employing a new stage to work on.
Of course, for people who prefer the traditional style such as vivo visits,galleries have kept this option while respecting the rules of covid 19 regulations. They have kept to strict precautions in place to buoy the safety of visitors in and out of the galleries. To maintain social distancing, galleries have limited their number of visitors (unique to each art fair) at an hourly basis. Advance online tickets have been preferred options to track daily schedules for the galleries. Other galleries have taken a step further by introducing electronic devices for visitors to wear around their neck. The pieces’ purpose is to keep visitors a minimum of 2 metres away from each other. Thorough sanitization is conducted to the product before and after every use. Others have installed plexiglass barriers at ticket counters, eliminating cash payments or reserving special time slots for larger groups. Overall, every gallery, fair and exhibition is quickly adapting to new changes while keeping the integrity of true art intact. While these are all just a small glimpse of the vast precautions galleries have taken, they try remaining as close to what they were before the pandemic.
For artists, the pandemic proved to be a time capsule to ‘seal the deal’. With practically no movement out of the house, artists have been busy either completing those pieces that were just impossible or testing new waters. With more inspiration, artworks have also shifted to portray social and political issues such as the BLM movement or president elections. Tim Tadder, artist and commercial advertising photographer, speaks about his art as: “My art is representative of many of the political and social challenges that revealed themselves over the past four to five months. My work is about control, division, assault, power and abuse thereof.” Furthemore, this chain continues across the field sorting the financial problems once faced by upcoming artists.Now every day is a new stage to delve into.
By: Pritikaa Somani
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