VR art show is gallery of future, say organisers

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VR art show is gallery of future, say organisers
Installation view, ‘Beside Itself’, created in HWVR picturing Ellen Gallagher’s ‘DeLuxe’, 2004-2005, Mark Bradford’s ‘Chicago’, 2019 and Lorna Simpson’s ‘Ice 4’, 2018 © the artists. Courtesy the artists and Hauser & Wirth.

PARIS (AFP).- One of the world's biggest art world players claims to have invented the "gallery of the future", with a virtual reality show opening on Thursday featuring a galaxy of contemporary stars.

Hauser & Wirth is letting people visit a show in its huge new private gallery on the Spanish island of Menorca -- which will not physically open until next year -- on their computers and smartphones.

"Beside Itself" features one of French legend Louise Bourgeois' giant spiders as well as work by Jenny Holzer, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Charles Gaines, Ellen Gallagher, Mike Kelley and Lawrence Weiner, whose work inspired the name of the show.

The Swiss-based art giant said it had invested heavily in VR and modelling technology, setting up ArtLab in Los Angeles and drawing on 3D techniques used in architecture, construction and video-game design.

While museums across the world are offering virtual tours during the coronavirus lockdowns, Hauser & Wirth said their technology was of a different order.

Gallery founder Iwan Wirth told AFP that "like some of the best inventions, this one comes from necessity".

"Our primary goal was to create technology that would help our artists visualise the spaces where their exhibitions would be presented," he said, enabling them to plan better and "reduce the amount of travel and transportation".

Wirth said they had speeded up development when the virus hit realising many people would be stuck alone at home.

"We feel this new approach to virtual reality exhibitions is especially relevant and will engage as many people as possible," he added.

The exhibition can be visited through the gallery's website.

The bricks and mortar gallery on Menorca, designed by Paris designer Luis Laplace on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean, will open next April.

© Agence France-Presse

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