"Much can be said of online viewing rooms – and trust us, we’ve said it all – but even the most fervent doubters can’t deny that they’ve improved exponentially since their adoption proliferated at the start of the pandemic.
Without a doubt, Frieze has been at the forefront of this trend. And even though its main website remains bafflingly bizarre and perhaps one of the most difficult to navigate that we’ve ever come across – don’t shoot the messenger, we’re just telling it like it is – the fair’s separately hosted online viewing room continues to impress with its seamless interface and constantly updated performance features.
Galleries are getting increasingly better at describing their presentations in pithy yet captivating terms at the top of their individual pages (probably why we’ve been seeing – and including in our Industry Job Listings section in The Canvas Monthly – so many postings for writer positions at galleries of late). Frieze has done an excellent job at curating relevant and interesting groups of works in the ‘Discover’ and ‘Don’t Miss’ sections on the main landing page to help foster a sense of discovery amongst collectors. And even though it apparently still requires retreating back to the main homepage in order to jump from gallery to gallery, the user interface and design of the entire experience is clearly well thought-out and polished.
Look, no one’s denying that online viewing rooms remain static webpages that require collectors to endlessly scroll page-by-page in a mind-numbing experience that’s more akin to online shopping than it is to viewing and buying art at a real-life fair, but at the same time, it’s also clear that online viewing rooms tied to fairs are here to stay. Collectors who can’t make it to the fair in person like the option to see the available works online. Advisors appreciate the convenience of easily being able to send links to clients. Galleries value the potential of reaching online audiences uninhibited by geographic constraints. And fairs view them as enticing new revenue streams that can grow as time goes on."
Top Five Must-See Presentations in Frieze's Online Viewing Room
Fredericks & Freiser
Vielmetter Los Angeles
David Kordansky Gallery