Cold white (backlit) walls

We're all looking for an online model that supplements or replaces the traditional gallery. A common trope amongst experimenters is to de-position bricks-and-mortar as forbidding and inconvenient. A typical example:

"[Company X] is a gallery for the next generation of art collectors. Forget the cold white walls; we bring the gallery experience to you. Discover the best emerging artists in our online gallery, or talk with one of our personal art advisors free of charge, to find the perfect artwork for your home or company. Art collecting has never been easier."

Two problems with this. First, ease and convenience are not primary goals in collecting: effort and reward are highly related, and even a new collector quickly learns that much of the pleasure is also in the difficulty.

Second, nothing is less warm than a website, even one with Apple-ish design and online chats. Something about the color temperature of a backlit screen and absence of opportunities for interaction with physical artworks, I guess.

I understand why this marketing jingoism exists but it doesn't advance anyone's cause. We need to collectively define web experiences for art (and thus for art-buying) that respect the medium while acknowledging its limitations.

A good starting point is Panther Modern, which hosts exhibitions in a modeled physical space. This places useful constraints on exhibiting artists, while creating a comforting feeling of return to a known environment for visitors. It's engaging, easy to access and allows for some real–and thus challenging–art experiences. I'm not saying we all have to create modeled physical spaces to succeed online, but I am heartened by the worthy experiment.