Culture

ArtPassport is your ticket to a world of digital art

By Oliver Smith 13 September 2017
Image: Getty/ PeopleImages.
Summary

Art should be for everyone.

The greatest artists are passionate about inclusivity, their work is designed to be enjoyed by many.

That said, the world of fine art can often be painfully exclusive.

Galleries that appear unwelcoming, pretentious red dots on paintings, owners who can come across less than friendly, and that’s not even considering exhibitions which come and go in the blink of an eye.

“Most exhibitions are usually only on for six to eight weeks, so it’s quite easy to slip by,” Tristram Fetherstonhaugh, the CEO and founder of GalleriesNow, told The Memo.

“You’ve got all these galleries, hundreds of them, putting on really great shows, quite often as good as you’d see in the Tate or in Whitechapel, all around the world.”

Even the most ardent fan or collector wouldn’t be able to get to all of them.

Unless Fetherstonhaugh can help it.

Art for all

GalleriesNow started as a way of following the listings of upcoming exhibitions at galleries in London and around the world, but now using the power of virtual reality Fetherstonhaugh is going far beyond listings.

His new app, ArtPassport, combines listings with high-definition 360° photography of every work of art, captured by his team of crack 360° photographers around the world.

“We have a program running fully in London, New York, Paris, Zurich, and Berlin is next, probably. We’ve also done some experiments in Seoul and Reykjavik.”

Today, using Google Cardboard, you can have an immersive gallery experience, seeing some of the world’s greatest art in the way it’s meant to be seen at dozens of galleries around the world, for free.

Exhibits are constantly being added and updated, with notifications to your phone whenever a new one is added.

It’s delightful.

The business of art

What’s maybe most surprising about ArtPassport is that galleries are paying to be part of it, they want their works to be seen by a wider audience.

“The incentive for them is to reach a larger engaged audience, it’s a bit like an art fair, to be around other galleries which compliment what they do,” he says.

“They also want as many people as possible to see each show, because an artist doesn’t create work so only a few people see it.”

Obviously Fetherstonhaugh admits there’s a commercial reason to, most galleries make most of their money through sales, sales that can only happen if enough people see what’s on offer.

Art is designed to be enjoyed by all, and ArtPassport is the perfect ticket to see more of it.

ArtPassport is available for iOS now.