Tristram Fetherstonhaugh is co-founder of the leading online art platform GalleriesNow.net. GalleriesNow connects users with art from a curated community of over 350 galleries based in 40 cities around the world.
What have you been doing during lockdown?
GalleriesNow is an online platform featuring exhibitions at the world’s leading galleries and we have been super busy during lockdown. There has been an intensified focus on the online art world and we have been helping our galleries with new initiatives such as online viewing rooms as well as welcoming great new galleries including Kohn in LA, Taka Ishii in Tokyo and James Cohan and Petzel in New York.
We have seen demand for our VR tech increase internationally and have been expanding our photographer network – most recently to LA and Hong Kong. We develop our own technology in house and have also used the time to undertake a major upgrade of our VRs to allow users to access more information on individual works. We’ve been developing our own totally virtual exhibition spaces too, and appointment booking systems, which are coming out soon.
Is there anything in particular you have learned from the last few months?
Keep going, keep helping, keep communicating and concentrate on developing and delivering solutions that help our galleries keep connected in these strange times and afterwards!
How do you think the art industry will change, going forward?
There will clearly be more focus on online, and developments that were probably still a few years down the road have been brought much closer. The issue is to use technology as a means to an end rather than for its own sake, and to remain mindful of the ultimate purpose – to enable and encourage people to experience art. GalleriesNow was the first company to present VRs of exhibitions and we found we had to develop our own approach rather than use tech from a different industry and that principal remains the same.
Do you have any advice that you would give to people entering the industry?
You have to be passionate and that’s more true now than ever. Now is a time of great opportunity, although those opportunities may look very different. Stay focused on the art itself, because the art will always be there!
Are there any art organisations that you have been particularly impressed by in the way that they have evolved and responded to the current situation?
There have been so many great responses and initiatives. We have been keeping a list on the site and there is always something interesting going on. We have also used it as opportunity to revisit some fantastic shows we have recorded in VR in our daily “From the VRchives” feature.