Having secured its reputation for museum-quality exhibitions, Gagosian Gallery is moving on to museum-like promotional tools. The gallery is set to launch a free iPad app, possibly this week, pending approval from Apple.
Something of a hybrid between a museum website and an online magazine, the app will be issued in "editions" and updated quarterly. It will offer information on the gallery's past, current and upcoming exhibitions as well as artist bios and exhibition reviews. Designed by @radical.media, a high-end international transmedia company, the app takes advantage of new gigapixel technology to allow users to zoom in on fine details.
Among the 20 artists in edition #1 are Richard Avedon, Cecily Brown, John Currin, Vera Lutter, Kazimir Malevich, Elizabeth Peyton, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Prince and Rudolf Stingel. As new editions are released, old content will remain accessible in an archive in the app.
The application will include original content, with an emphasis on video about recent Gagosian programming. Video features include art historian and Gagosian curator John Richardson, who discusses his current New York exhibition of Picasso's portraits of Marie-Thérèse (through June 25). In another, Francesco Bonami tours his Rudolf Stingel show from last spring. John Currin gives a talk about his recent paintings, and writer James Frey is interviewed about his new artist's book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, which was published by Gagosian. Helpfully, for world travelers, the app will include information on the Gagosian empire's 11 locations, with exhibition schedules, maps, gallery news and, of course, a link to the Gagosian retail shop.
Gagosian seems to be setting a precedent for commercial galleries, or at least those willing to commit resources to developing apps. David Zwirner has plans to launch an app next year, according to a gallery spokesperson. The gallery recently hired an in-house digital media manager, who is redesigning its website, to re-launch in August, as well as creating private viewing websites for clients and a YouTube page.
Some galleries have already launched exhibition-related or project-specific apps. Pace Gallery, most notably, created an app for last fall's "50 Years at Pace," which was available for iPhone, iPad and Android. It is also involved in launching Artifex Press, an independent company that will publish digital catalogues raisonnés, including those of Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Chuck Close and Tara Donovan.