Gallery Viewer

With Johan de Bruijn

For this edition I’m meeting Johan, one of the founders of Gallery Viewer. For this venture, Johan works on the technicalities while Fons Hof directs Art Rotterdam, a fair for discovering young artists. They have worked together for some time on this project now. Among other things, Johan also creates video presentations of the artists’ work for the Art Rotterdam fair.

This article is edited by Maheshpreet Narula and checked by SK

Buying art has changed

It all started on a sunny spring day, enjoying lunch at a Amsterdam. The two talked about the lack of accessible content on gallery websites. The gallery websites are tailored to inform art-experts but they miss out on offering accesible content for the mass public.

For two years they analysed and investigated the art scene to identify what has changed over the last decade. Fons analysed the scene from his perspective as an art fair director and Johan as the down-to-earth Rotterdammer, with a practical and technical viewpoint.

They concluded, to survive as a gallery you have to have more than just a space. The new art lover doesn’t spend a Saturday looking for a new piece. People investigate through the internet, and visit after they find what they are looking for. The average gallery owner knows a lot about art and is socially skilled, but they have no knowledge of digital strategy. It’s all about the first impression, this begins at the gallery’s website. Most of which are a library of art pieces they either once had or currently hold.

Johan’s frustration with buying art

While producing Projections, the video section of Art Rotterdam, Johan got to know the artists there, and found interest in their work presented at the fair. He asked the owner of a small Italian gallery for some information. He received the artist's 10-page résumé in small type in his e-mail, filled with references he wasn't familiar with. That's why Gallery Viewer's greatest feature is the artist page, filled with video's, highlights, collections and recommendations. This way, visitors learn more about their favourite artists making them and understand why there's a certain price tag attached to it.

What is Gallery Viewer?

  • Only new art, no secondary trade

  • Free for browsers of the site, subscription fees
    for galleries

  • All art within a price range

  • Search by artist, discipline, price, or gallery. Combinations possible

  • Reserve artworks online, or book appointments with the gallery in one click

Do you have a favorite artist yourself?

The Gallery Viewer has a great feature where you can compose a page on an artist you like. On my list are Michael Jacklin for his technical excellence and Melanie Bonaj for her mystical way of thinking, among many others. But this list changes constantly. The extensive collections on the platform show you an overview of art that you wouldn’t usually see on your own. Because of this, Johan’s taste in art has shifted.

Do you have a favorite artist yourself?

To create an accessible place to discover high quality artworks and learn more about the artist's making them. A gallery is more than a store for art, it is a well composed exposition, where artists’ stories are shared. An artist needs a gallery to showcase their work as a whole. The artist is best at creating his/ her work, and the gallery owner can help present their collection in the best way.