Has COVID-19 Killed the Brick and Mortar Art Gallery

I think that everyone can agree that 2020 was a very challenging year. The Corona Virus  brought death and destruction to many parts of the world and even now we are still grappling with it.  It forced many of us to embrace concepts of  Digitalization and Digitization. Remote working is now the norm rather than the exception. Never before in human existence,  have we been more interconnected  with the digital world than we are now. Despite the advent of many variants of vaccines I predict that this  virus  will be accompanying  human kind for the foreseeable future. This leads me to the questions of how we will interact with art. Art in most cases has been a social exercise and the art gallery has been the “gate keeper”.  I predict that much like how the music industry  transformed in the 90s due to file sharing, the world of art will also transform. In fact the transformation has already begun. Online art galleries are in abundance on the internet. I however think that this transformation will be even more pervasive. With the advances in technology  and the restraints brought upon by COVID-19 the brick and mortar gallery experience may very well become a thing of the past, a relic like the record stores of past generations.  

Artist relied on the gallery to  promote their work and to ultimately generate sales. In fact many artists sought desperately the acceptance of the gallery. To them this gesture  was a validation their work.  This is no longer the case. Artist can now strike out independently. With the use of social media  and online tools and artist can successfully build a following.  In essence eliminating the middleman. I am not saying that all galleries will disappear.  We will still need places to display timeless works of art. My hypothesis is that upcoming artist will not to look to partner with galleries.  They will seek to bring their work and vision directly to the public.  This is the next step in the evolution.  To what extent does the relationship deteriorate is debatable. 

Montez Kerr is a photographer and his work can be viewed  at the following online gallery

Montez Kerr

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