As Galleries Ponder Art-Tech Initiatives, Hauser & Wirth Plans ArtLab Program

With galleries increasingly going digital and moving their offerings online while experimenting with art-and-technology programming, some of the biggest enterprises in the world have gotten in on the game. Last year, Pace Gallery revealed plans to launch its own initiative of the kind, PaceX, with Christy MacLear, the former vice chairman of Sotheby’s Art Agency, Partners advisory firm, at the helm. Now, Hauser & Wirth will unveil its own art-and-technology program—a new initiative to be called ArtLab.

The program will comprise various projects, including what the gallery has labeled a “digital residency” for artists showing at its space in Los Angeles. Also part of the initiative is HWVR, a new virtual reality tool designed by architect Luis Laplace.

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HWVR will be used in the coming weeks to offer the gallery’s first “VR-based exhibition,” according to a release. (An artist list has not yet been announced.) Alongside the exhibition will be a digital preview of the gallery’s not-yet-opened location in Menorca, Spain, which will include an exhibition space, gardens, a store, a residency program, and a restaurant. The Menorca gallery is currently expected to open in 2021.

In a statement, Iwan Wirth, the gallery’s cofounder, said, “Many of the best innovations are driven by necessity. When we created ArtLab and first began developing the HWVR art experience, our primary goal was to develop technology that would help our artists visualize the spaces where their exhibitions would be presented. We were equally motivated by a desire to plan exhibitions for our locations around the globe in a way that would reduce the amount of travel and transportation.”


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