Does the VIP Art Fair have a future?

Does the VIP Art Fair have a future?

After 10 days of mixed success and technical malfunction, the VIP Art Fair closed with, as fair organiser James Cohan put it, “some very sore feelings”. But he also believed the first fair was “a big success” and referred to the website as an “enormous resource” – one that was not to be dismantled at the end of the fair but that galleries will use on an ongoing basis (the details of which are yet to be confirmed). 
In the lead up to VIP, Jane Cohen said the fair's success would be measured against the traffic generated by other international art fairs. Because users would have to register with the site to enter the fair, she said, the VIP Art Fair would have accurate numbers. The final count was 41,000 registered users – pretty good, but not a spectacular result for a fair that could be attended by people dressed in their pyjamas. Both Frieze and the Armory Show claim 60,000 attendees for their 2010 events and Art Basel topped the head count with 62,500. 
Participating dealers would have had other measures in mind, like sales, but only a few galleries have reported sales outcomes. You can read Art Market Monitor's VIP sales round-up here.
It's difficult to judge whether the world's first virtual art fair was a great idea marred by imperfect execution, or a sign that there is no substitute for experiencing art in the flesh in a real art fair. But a second edition of VIP has been scheduled for 2012, so it's a case of watch this space.