Armory Online: The future of fairs is here

Introducing New York fall arts season, The Armory Show presented its 27th edition in a new location at the Javits Center, and digitally on Armory Online, showcasing 157 exhibitors from 37 countries.

Armory Show 2021: Exploded, Lita Albuquerque, Peter Blake Gallery

This exciting hybrid fair model led to one of the fair’s strongest editions in its history. As the fair’s official shipping partner, Convelio pillared this new model by helping streamline post-sale shipping logistics. This was carried out both on-site with our dedicated team, and digitally through Convelio’s Widget, a shipping solution a part of the Armory Online experience, powered by Artlogic.

Going online can be a valuable extension for the physical fair, as it offers a number of benefits for artists, galleries and fair visitors to connect in new, meaningful ways. Online presence increases the accessibility of the works for viewers, and in turn allows galleries to connect faster to international markets. The rise of art-focused digital platforms, be it online viewing rooms or marketplaces, has also contributed to more transparent practises. In addition to The Armory Shows’s digital experience, we are seeing more fairs experiment with new ways to showcase artwork. For example, The Other Art Fair now divides inventory into price point categories, easing navigation of pieces displayed online. David Zwirner Platform offers a designated place for emerging galleries to present artwork.

Amongst the latest developments in viewing and accessing art, there have also been progressive steps to significantly reduce travel related costs and energy consumption. This is pushing the industry to accommodate more sustainable practices – a mission that Convelio is highly invested in with a new Climate Care initiative.

As for the physical events, we have seen changes in the size and frequency of those experiences. Some fairs, such as Frieze, have downsized in scale, launching new subscription models and initiating membership opportunities for new collectors. Frieze is expected to open a gallery hub in London with a monthly exhibition programme.

Rethinking the way we model fairs and promote engagement is evolving. The Armory Show has made it so this edition was built with these new avenues in mind. With the growing demand for online purchase availability, increasing recognition of NFTs, and the world seemingly operating at immense pace, the online experience is one worth maximizing on. And accommodating a hybrid model for purchase support is directly related to new client standards. As Eliza Osborne explains, “​​“We are always thinking about the client experience at The Armory Show and how we can improve that. Incorporating Convelio into our online platform, as well as having them available at the fair, means that we have answers to questions before they’ve been asked.”

These projects are proving scalable and ease the complications of post-pandemic event planning, while keeping the industry in motion through economic fluctuations.

Amidst the changes of fair models, what remains is the desire to connect through the industry’s communities. Convelio is proud to strengthen and bring innovation for these relationships. With our dedicated service, we are able to support steps from the initial interest period in pieces through to final delivery.

Our tailored approach is allowing us to look more closely at fairs’ objectives, align with those goals, and ensure a more transparent, efficient and secure fine art shipping experience.

September 20, 2021

Nytte Linnea Kuutsa