Gatherings are taboo in the Covid-19 world, so where does that leave experiential art?

Simon Heijdens's immersive work Shade (2010-ongoing), seen here in Greenwich in 2014, is one of the projects that will be shown by Superblue Courtesy of Superblue. Photo: Charles Emerson

August saw the official launch of Superblue, a vast, next-generation gallery, spun out of Pace, which will generate income by selling tickets (at around $35) for the experience of immersive art, rather than make money from actually selling it.

Superblues founders—Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and Marc Glimcher—plan to commission works and will share ticket revenues with the artists. Its name may be a bit clunky (an easy-to-miss take on the avant-garde Blue Rider art movement) but, strategically, Superblues co-founders know what they are doing with their new (super) model.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the art market faced an extrinsic threat: the shift away from a culture of possession. The term “Generation Rent” was originally coined to describe young people under too much financial pressure to own homes, cars or businesses. But it has come to exemplify a broader Millennial mindset, including among the better off. For those aged between 22 and 38—as well as for their Generation Z followers—buying stuff simply isnt the status symbol it once was. Accumulation now is all about experiences, influencer kudos and Instagram followers.

This is Superblues captive, and potentially huge, audience. Plans for its so-called experiential art centres (EACs) start in a 50,000 sq. ft industrial building in Miami in December. The future includes EACs in other US cities, as well as in Europe and Asia.

Superfluous Superblues? Perhaps. But for now the Miami plan seems to channel the entertainment factor of a blockbuster museum show or an art fair while at the same time lowering some of the art worlds off-putting barriers to entry. There is, Im sure, plenty to be written about the artistic merits of the collaborative studios teamLab and Random International, but fundamentally they produce spectacular “moments” that also look pretty good on a social media feed. And while their audience is way broader than the subset of people who can afford to buy paintings, it is hardly mass market—to my mind, $35 per person is quite a lot to pay for an experience that doesnt include food. As such, Superblue also retains some aspirational cachet.

There is one glaring hitch: gatherings are almost taboo in the Covid-19 wRead More – Source