Sotheby's has a new application for the iPhone and iPad. Whether you're an experienced or new collector, relying on this auction house's app is one of the best ways to keep informed about the art market, but more importantly about artists and art trends. Go to the iTunes App store, dowload the free app and here's what you will get: the latest podcasts, a chance to browse catalogues for upcoming sales and view auction results. If you are interested in placing a bid, you can search upcoming lots, zoom in for a closer look, and leave an absentee bid. To access either Sotheby's new app or website, be sure to log in first.
The app can be particularly informative. Its main attraction right now is a video of the opening at Tate Modern for Frieze Week where Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's installation was featured. Visitors were invited to walk on 100 million individually made porcelain sunflower seeds. If you were puzzled by newspaper reports about this installation -- referencing traditional techniques with a contemporary message --the video makes it clear. The artist was referring to the time when Mao was considered the sun and the Chinese people were "sunflower seeds." (Incidentally, now visitors have to view the installation from a bridge as health officials worried that walking on the porcelain "seeds" created too much unhealthy dust.") Relying on a video like this one gives you a sense of what is happening at the biggest event in the UK art calendar and not just prices paid at auction.
Also, keep in mind there's a new addition to Sotheby's.com. BidNow is an online bidding service available for all auctions worldwide. You can access Sotheby's mobile site from almost any web-enabled handset, including the Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPad among others.