shifts in the art industry due to COVID-19

Aidan Urquhart, Domestic Target #21, 2003,
acrylic and collage on board, 9 in. diameter.
Price: $700.00

The art industry is adapting to current realities of social and physical distancing during this critical period of the COVID – 19 pandemic in North America with providing online services, education and platforms which engage the public and collectors. The art industry is developing and enhancing online platforms in response to people not being able to visit galleries and exhibitions. How do we continue to engage the larger community with our artist’s developments and newest creations today? And how do we move forward in future phases as we slowly loosen social distancing policies?

As restrictions are loosened and even post-pandemic, more people will continue to work remotely and larger social gatherings will still be limited. International and Canadian auction houses have been carrying on with business providing virtual and online platforms to sell art without a physical viewing or in-person auctions. Online platforms and websites will need to be enhanced to showcase artists’ work and to view exhibitions. Public and commercial art galleries will need to ramp up their online platforms with education, information, and virtual exhibitions in order to serve their communities and clients globally. During this pandemic, we have seen the international and non-profit art galleries respond to these demands by engaging their viewers with interesting virtual exhibitions. For example, in Oakville, Ontario, the Queen Elizabeth Park Cultural Centre, which highlights local community artists, has responded by engaging their community with a fabulous virtual installation by Toronto artist Anna Lefsrud complemented by an in-depth artist statement about her installation and exhibition. The community gallery posted the installation on their Facebook and Instagram pages for the community to enjoy.

Virtual engagement is no substitute for experiencing the true physicality of an artwork and an exhibition. Being stunned or shocked by an artwork as you walk by the piece, noticing something dazzling about a colour, a texture, a material, a line, a mark or an idea that may be missed through a quicker virtual browsing. We are used to browsing quickly through digital information, however, the virtual experience can still provide us with knowledge, insights and information about that artist’s work. As virtual platforms develop we may witness a closer experience between virtual and physical exhibitions. Today’s social and physical distancing policies may result in the rise of more sophisticated virtual platforms which could ultimately foster increased interest in art, artists’ concepts, ideas and the making of art objects.

Because of closures during this phase of COVID-19, there will be financial hardship for all art galleries, public institutions and artists as they struggle through these difficult times. The galleries that survive this pandemic will be operating on tighter budgets. A new era of smaller more bare bones galleries will pop up in our communities. A transformation of how art is presented to the public may result in how individuals experience art. Will there be a new unbiased approach to experiencing art, without all the marketing and branding models that have been the business model of many of the most influential international art galleries over the last few decades? We may see changes to many of the glamorous galleries, art fairs and glossy styled artworks and the return of the smaller galleries that foster and encourage the unique talents and artistic expressions of their artists, detached from the commercialization of art.

James Rottman Fine Art carries a significant inventory of contemporary and historical artworks by renowned Canadian artists. Do not hesitate to contact us with any inquiries.