If you’ve ever been to an art fair, you know that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) runs rampant: How do you find the must-see pieces, the most popular galleries? Crowds milling through hundreds of galleries showing thousands of artworks is exciting, but it can also be totally overwhelming. For the Armory Show–New York’s largest art fair, which ran through Sunday–Artsy.net released a free new app extension that brings an age-old art-selling tradition into the digital age.
The Armory Show guide, a beautifully designed addition to Artsy’s popular app, offers detailed information on over 2,000 artworks from the fair by 854 artists from around the world. It lets users “favorite” and follow individual works and galleries, adding an interactive element to what was once a purely analog experience. It used to be that if you wanted to find out more about a work or its artist, you had to Google them on your own. The new app automatically links you to artist bios and background on what you’re looking at, and a map leads you to related works hiding elsewhere in the labyrinthine bazaar. For example, if you search for artist Alex Katz, the app reveals all galleries in the fair that are showing his work. “That’s a revolutionary thing,” Michelle Finocchi, an Artsy representative, tells Co.Design.
Data from this app was fed to the “Artsy Columns”–freestanding digital screens that map the fair and display livestreamed updates of the top trending galleries. It lets users contact galleries directly or get in touch with a real live Artsy specialist.
The app’s sleek design is inspired by the traditional whitebox gallery aesthetic. “A clean white background is often considered the best way to present art,” Finocchi says, “and that’s what we try to channel.” The technology makes the art world more accessible to both the uninitiated and seasoned collectors–because even experts aren’t immune to FOMO.
For those who missed the Armory Show, the extension to the app is available until Wednesday and lets you browse the entire show from your mobile device.