The requirements of art logistics have changed since the pandemic. Convelio tells us how its new approach is revolutionising the business, with special reference to Salon Art + Design New York
The hottest cauldron of the global art market has always been found at the art fair. Events showcasing the diverse treasures of the global art market are central to the art eco-system, bringing together dealers to reveal their best, newest and rarest stocks for a limited time.
Logistics can be a headache in any industry, but the specialised nature of the art market makes it more of a challenge than most. Now, however, shipping for art fairs and the broader art market is handled by art logistics specialists such as Convelio, a leading international fine art shipper with a digital approach. Fine art shippers are tackling art fair shipping complexities with original solutions, satisfying both buyer and seller and modernising the industry. A case in point for this is Convelio’s management of the demands of exhibitors at Salon Art + Design New York with efficiency, quality and reliability.
Fine art shippers have been working with art galleries ever since the first art fair took place in Cologne in 1967. In the 55 years since then, the process has largely remained stagnant. The gallery would make contact with a shipper to request quotes for packing, shipping, insurance and delivery to a fair, and the shipping agent would reply often days later or more with prices. For the demands of the 21st century market, an innovative solution is required.
The cutting edge of fine art shipping is in action at Salon Design + Art New York, a fair where more than fifty of the world’s leading galleries in art, architecture and design will be brought together at Park Avenue Armory. Convelio is the shipping partner for the event, backing its industry-leading, automated logistics services ahead of the fair with a ‘phygital’ presence on-site at the Armory.
Convelio’s involvement with the fair comes at a time when the French-founded start up is fast expanding in the US. The company now has a team of 34 in North America, as part of a global staff of over 200 located around the world. Earlier this year, it raised $35 million in Series B funding and continues to augment its operations and personnel in the US, its largest and fastest growing regional market.
Time is a precious commodity in the artworld, not just in the time-limited sense of an art fair’s run, but in the logistics of the lead up too. Rather than the traditional wait of hours or even days for quotes for shipping, Convelio’s proprietary platform for fine art shipping generates a quote to book in seconds, from almost anywhere in the world. It is introducing the generation of gallerists and collectors most familiar with Amazon to a similar efficiency and speed of booking for art logistics.
To deliver works to a fair, galleries must ship their stock in bulk, which requires an associated extent of administration. Shippers are working to streamline these procedures and Convelio offers fully automated ‘inventory shipping’ to eliminate wasted time spent on more traditional shipment organisation. This has been delivered with Convelio’s clients at Salon, allowing galleries to spend more time on the front end of their businesses, and removing the need to spend too much time with the administration.
Although tech-led solutions are leading the charge in making art fair shipping as efficient as possible, backing technology with a human touch remains all-important to guaranteeing a high-quality service. At the Salon, Convelio is providing an operations bureau situated at the fair, to be a ‘one stop shop’ for dealers who want to fast-track their logistical demands for onward shipping by liaising with on-site experts. Going ‘phygital’ is now the dominant approach to selling at art fairs, where a dealer must maintain an online and offline presence at a fair – a change that was sped up by the Covid-19 era. It is clear that the supply chain supporting these dealers is fast catching up.
Collectors and exhibitors alike expect efficiency, quality and reliability in their fine art shipping services for art fairs. New players in the game such as Convelio are introducing a new paradigm to make this a reality. As Convelio’s involvement at the Salon demonstrates, the art market may finally be consigning the logistical practices recognisable at that first art fair in Cologne to where it belongs – the history books.
Salon Art + Design runs from November 11th-14th, 2022 at the Park Avenue Armory, NYC.