"Send Me the JPEG," installation view. Photo: Etienne Frossard. Courtesy Winkleman Gallery, New York.
via Berlin-based nyc art parasites: the guide to new york's art jungle:
Review: "Send Me The JPEG" at Winkleman Gallery
"Is This Real Life?" [excerpt]
by Meredith Caraher - July 2, 2013
[....] In a study conducted by analysts ArtTactic for Hiscox, 71% of collectors make their purchase decisions from digital images, without ever having seen the work in person. On top of that, 89% of the surveyed galleries confirmed that they sell pieces directly from JPEGs, and these are not small ticket items either. A quarter of online buyers spend well over €50,000 on a single purchase.
From Hardware To Software
This somewhat unsurprising fact is the inspiration for Winkleman Gallery's Send Me The JPEG exhibition, which, despite its lighthearted exterior, seriously considers the nature of art ownership, purchase and, above all, experience. A wide selection of the gallery's artists are showcased, though none of the pieces are physically present. Instead, visitors watch walls of flat screens cycling through JPEGs of art, which have been dropped into web-style formatted frames, complete with the gallery's branding, social media, and all of the details that would usually be reserved for sales tools.
On one hand, this creates a simple and practical means to display an array of work, which in reality ranges greatly in scale and scope. The gallery explains that there would be no way to exhibit all of the works together in one show – from room-sized installations to live performances, they simply wouldn't fit. However, Send Me The JPEG also holds up an important mirror to the collecting process based on the data from ArtTactic, and creates a thoughtful and self aware statement from those in the business of selling art.
Gallery owner and director Ed Winkleman tells Art Parasites, "Send Me The JPEG is a lighthearted summer group show with a few themes running through it, (including) a celebration of the artists, who were willing to be part of such an experiment. On one hand, the show can be read as a satire of the overestimation of the power of online channels to replace brick-and-mortar galleries for selling art."
It is an incredibly sensitive and brave subject for a gallery to approach: exposing artists to potential collectors and making sales is at the heart of the business, which online selling obviously increases the potential for. Yet there is the concern that by removing the need to see physical work for the sales to occur, the institute of the gallery will no longer be needed.
Will The Art Revolution Be Virtualized?
True, some groups may devolve into a trade-style warehouse system, but lovers of art especially love the experience of art, and that will never go away. By presenting the negative ramifications of online sales to the rest of the gallery-going public, Winkleman brings forward some important truths.
Ultimately, the thing to remember is that going out to art shows is an event: t's social, it's exciting, it's fun. People enjoy the experience of art, and this is where demand begins. The virtual representation of available art accommodates the practical needs of the heavy weight collecting community, but didn't create it. We have seen many trends come and go over the years and, indeed, we have seen controversy in art become a viable commodity – but what happens when art as a commodity becomes the controversy? These are the questions Send Me The JPEG raises and successfully answers.
- Winkleman Gallery – "Send Me the JPEG" Group Exhibition – June 27th - August 2nd, 2013 – Tue-Sat: 11am-6pm [Price range for works: $1,500 - $25,000]
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