Online art goes offline

The increasingly co-dependent relationship between the online and offline art worlds reaches another milestone on April 2nd, when Saatchi Art (formerly Saatchi Online) holds its first “offline exhibition.”

Titled Continental Shift (a nod to Saatchi Art’s transition of its operations from London to Los Angeles over the last couple of years) the show exhibits works from the Saatchi Art website in the Edition and Print Gallery at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The collection will also be available through Saatchi Art online, and represented artists will receive 70% of any exhibition sales (the same as Saatchi Art’s online commission).

The online art market is becoming increasingly commoditized. Employing the Saatchi Gallery as a shop window for Saatchi Art – even though both operations are now only connected by name – is a valuable differentiator for Saatchi Art and its artists. Exhibition of artworks for sale online in brand name galleries could even create a ‘halo effect‘ so it won’t be a surprise if other platforms emulate Saatchi Art by creating alliances with established bricks-and-mortar galleries. But it would be a supremely ironic one.

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