Tablets and the Art Community

The Wall Street Journal just posted a good article on the use of computer tablets in the art and museums worlds.  It states digital advances are allowing more and more freedom to easily explore museums, auctions and galleries.

I just wrote an article for the 2012 edition of the Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies on the use of new items and technology during the on-site inspection.  Some are old standbys, some are variations on past tools and some are completely new.  In the end, technology is advancing rapidly, and changing the way art collectors, museum visitors, and appraisers view and approach art.

The Wall Street Journal reports
Officials at Christie's and Sotheby's say they're seeing more iPads and other devices filling the room during sales. Christie's, which already offers absentee bidding via its website, expects to extend absentee bidding to its iPad app next month, along with new features like access to condition reports on works. Sotheby's just updated its iPad catalog app to allow collectors to take notes in digital catalogs during sales.

Tablets are also increasingly a staple of art fairs. At Art Basel in Switzerland last June, dealer Adam Sheffer, a partner at the New York gallery Cheim & Read, met with a client interested in a work by Ghada Amer, an Egyptian painter whose labor-intensive pieces are filled with intricate embroidery. The gallery's works were inventoried on the iPad using ArtBinder, an app that is swiftly replacing the use of physical binders at art fairs. The Los Angeles-based collector was ready to buy the work, but he wanted the signoff of his wife, who was more than 5,800 miles away in a hair salon in Los Angeles. Mr. Sheffer emailed a close-up of the work to the wife, an art enthusiast, who agreed to the $250,000 sale. "The whole thing took an hour," Mr. Sheffer says.

Miami Beach collector Dennis Scholl says photography and video art are a natural fit when he's considering buying an artwork based on a digital image; for sculpture, with its scale issues, and drawings, with their subtle gradations of shading, he likes to see the works in person. Mr. Scholl recently pulled the trigger on a work by Tamy Ben-Tor, using his iPad to view the video of the Israeli artist as an old woman in a forest. "The iPad, because of the beauty of the images and the clarity of the reproduction, it makes you braver as a collector," he says.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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