Another San Francisco Art Fair Will Target the Ever-Elusive Tech Industry Collector

The art world has courted the wealthy tech sector for decades, with mixed results.

Is the tech community finally willing to buy art? Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A new art and design fair is headed to the Bay Area—with a familiar goal.

Merging art and technology, the new If So, What? fair aims of lure Silicon Valley’s wealthy tech sector with a three-day event in San Francisco this April.

Billing itself as immersive and multidisciplinary, the fair isn’t the first to court the Bay Area and Silicon Valley tech industry—an audience that’s proved elusive for the art world.

In recent years, competitors such as UNTITLED and FOG Art + Design have managed to carve out a space in the Bay Area’s small but potentially lucrative art market. And their success suggests there is an appetite for fairs that mix categories and genres. But it remains to be seen whether that market can accommodate another fair.

Despite the challenging environment, the fair’s founders, Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler and Linda Helen Gieseke, are confident that they can differentiate themselves in the Bay Area. Kim-Wechsler and Gieseke told artnet News in an email that the goal of the fair “is to create a different paradigm that will appeal to a new and large subset of collectors who are not being attracted by the typical fair model right now.”

The fair’s founders bring their own experience bridging the art, tech, and business worlds. Kim-Wechsler previously held positions at Artsy, 1stdibs, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, among others. Gieseke is a strategic business advisor who has worked for Boston Consulting Group.

The two believe that the fair’s multidisciplinary approach will engage both new and established collectors in the area. “We feel that staging a new initiative at the nexus of art, design, and technology represents an inviting opportunity to a sizable group of new collectors throughout the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, as well those who already actively participate in the art world,” they wrote.

As one part of its strategy to lure the wealthy startup crowd, the fair will feature an ancillary program packed with tech-friendly highlights. There will be an immersive art and technology showroom created by David Gryn, the director of Daata Editions. Meanwhile, Nick Lynch, the founder of high-tech creative design firm Lynchini, will bring together art created by artificial intelligence and video mapping. Panel discussions will address issues across the fields of art, design, and technology, including at least one hot topic of the moment—the role of cryptocurrencies in the art market.

The first edition of If So, What? will take place from April 26–29, 2018 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

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