A Virtual Reality App for Galleries and Collectors Opens Up a New Art Buying Experience

Collectors will be able to tour galleries in virtual reality, eventually trying out the work they may want to purchase in 3-D VR reproductions of their own homes.

A mockup of the Vortic Curate App showing a VR representation of Grayson Perry’s ‘Super Rich Interior Decoration’ exhibition. © Grayson Perry, courtesy Victoria Miro

During this extremely uncertain time for the art world, it is evident that online gallery exhibitions, remote auctions and emerging immersive technologies have never been more relevant or more necessary to maintain the health of the art market. Fittingly, this week, entrepreneur Oliver Miro announced the forthcoming launch of Vortic, an extended-reality platform that will enable galleries to create virtual versions of their own spaces. Vortic’s overall platform consists of two complimentary augmented and virtual reality apps, and it will launch in April 2020 alongside a presentation in collaboration with David Zwirner and Victoria Miro galleries.

The primary function of the app will be Vortic Curate, a subscription-based program that will help galleries to build their own virtual exhibitions as compliments to their physical ones. Due to the fact that art spaces all over the world are currently closed to the public due to the deadly coronavirus, this type of technology could prove to be invaluable in the long run. Via the app, galleries will have the option to customize pre-existing digital gallery spaces to better match their own premises, or else they can opt to have their actual spaces scanned via high-resolution 3-D technology.

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For collectors, Vortic is producing two separate apps called Vortic Collect and Vortic VR. VR allows the user to experience virtual exhibitions in 3-D via their Oculus headsets, if they have one. The Collect app employs augmented reality technology so that collectors can tour galleries, art fairs and exhibitions. Eventually, Miro (who is the son of dealer Victoria Miro) also wants the app to be able to function so that collectors can create virtual 3-D reproductions of their own homes, which they then can “fill” with art that they’re considering buying—perhaps even the same works they’ve toured in VR.

“This is something we have been working on and hope to have in place in the next 12 months,” Miro told Observer on Wednesday. “We have prioritized the launch of the gallery app due to the current situation with COVID-19 but in the meantime, collectors will be able to use the app’s AR function to view works of art in their own homes.”

Miro also told Artnet that the approximate cost for a gallery to get its premises scanned would be $13,800, but he isn’t yet certain what this scanning procedure would cost an individual who wanted to virtually recreate the exact dimensions of their living room. “We haven’t confirmed the prices for collectors’ homes yet,” he clarified to Observer. In any case, an app that offers its user the uncannily real-seeming experience of walking through a gallery or museum is poised to be especially valuable during a time when no one feels comfortable leaving home. 

A Virtual Reality App for Galleries and Collectors Opens Up a New Art Buying Experience