Online art galleries throughout the world are beginning more and more to display artworks online with the purpose of promoting art and artists to potential buyers. The latest new startup, outoftheCUBE, offers artists the opportunity to exhibit their artworks through its online platform. Founded by Mandy Conidaris and Kevin Sneider 15 months ago, they began by conceiving a theme then inviting artists to participate with work curated under the specific theme. Their online exhibitions have grown to offer themed group exhibitions as well as solo exhibitions akin to what artists would exhibit in a gallery exhibition.
Condaris lectured at UNISA for 5 years where she realized that so many students and early career artists make interesting work with a great deal of integrity, but then have nowhere to exhibit it. Art galleries are often reluctant to sign such artists because they are still relatively unknown. These young artists do not have a space to exhibit and establish themselves professionally. The aim of outoftheCUBE concentrates on promoting emerging artists’ careers.
Currently they have hosted 37 online exhibitions featuring the work of over 60 artists including early career artists and established artists such as Pierre le Riche, Emma Willemse, Karen Pretorius, Colleen Alborough, and more. The website exhibits various kinds of artworks from painting and prints, to installation and video works. outoftheCUBE offers substantial information accompanying each exhibition including a quick introduction to the work, a short biography of the artist, a curator’s statement, a ‘read more’ piece exploring a more in-depth look at the themed exhibition, and an interview with the artist. All the exhibitions are stored in full on their archive page. Condaris hopes that the information can be used in the future by school pupils, university students and researchers for research or assignments on contemporary South African artists.
outoftheCUBE’s most recent project is the ‘selfies’ exhibition page which offers artists whose work does not fit into one of the proposed themes the opportunity to self-curate an exhibition for a small fee. outoftheCUBE has also recently held an innovative exhibition at the Turbine Art Fair 2014 which featured over 40 framed QR codes that each linked digitally to its own unique online exhibition. At the Art Fair, Conidaris and Sneider aimed to explain the ideas behind the online platform, and show visitors how to navigate the site with a tablet and/or smartphone.
The online market in South Africa is only in its beginning stages where some buyers, artists, galleries etc are still reluctant to use online resources for buying and selling art. But outoftheCUBE is striving to offer emerging artists the space to market their work to viewers on a broader scale and the opportunity to get noticed in an already difficult market to break into.