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Home » AO on Site – Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 – Main Fair Conclusion and Summary

AO on Site – Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 – Main Fair Conclusion and Summary

December 6th, 2010

If one were to squeeze the last four years at Art Basel Miami Beach into a quick few words, it might read something like this: 2006 was good. 2007 was maniacally successful. 2008 was crash and burn. 2009 was a bit lackluster.  Considering the lingering gray economic climate, how would one describe the 9th edition of the fair, year 2010? The general verdict was this year’s fair was strong and consistent, in terms of art, sales, and attendance.


The Gallerist Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Booth G7

more story and images after the jump…

According to critics, attendees, and gallerists, most felt the art amongst the 250+ galleries was collectively stronger than last year’s. Art Info gushed, “we found the fair to be so strong this year that no booths struck us as disappointing enough to warrant a “Worst” appellation.” Some stand-out booths? 303 Gallery with its spy mirror glass reading “Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear,” by Jeppe Hein, Nicole Klagsbrun, Hauser & Wirth, Praz-Delavallade with its eccentric wallpaper, and Tony Shafrazi Gallery with Dennis Hopper’s ‘Self-Portrait with Rock and Cactus.’ Another must-see was Galerie Gmurzynska‘s impressive black-and-white booth designed by Zaha Hadid; its art-meets-architecture installation provided refreshing contrast to the majority of the other white cubed spaces.  Since Miami Art Basel received 20% more applications this year than last year, while the overall design designated fewer booths, this paring down proved advantageous for the overall quality of art.

While there were few of the infamous shotgun sales like those during Vernissage 2007, the galleries that we chatted with were enthusiastic about the overall outcome. Alexander Acquavella of Acquavella Galleries, whose booth enjoyed a prime location right by the main entrance, explained: “Buying was spread out this year. The first day was slow for us. The second day was really good. The third day we did business too.” (To note, Alex was being modest; Acquavella has been reported to have laid claim to a handful of big-ticket sales, including Richard Diebenkorn’s “Man Drawing from 1956, (around $5 million dollars), a Warhol painting with repeating images of a Mercedes-Benz, priced at $6 million, and Zeng Fanzhi’s “Untitled (Mask Series)” which went “for a couple of million bucks,” according to Art Info.)

Canada Gallery sold out completely in the first day. By Saturday evening, Gagosian Gallery was completely revamped with new art, a quick indication of strong sales. Maria Bueno of Cheim and Read revealed on Sunday night, “This year, we really edited our material to bring in all kind of price points, ranging from $40,000 to $300,000. And we had very consistent sales. ” For Cheim and Read, even pieces by Louise Fishman, John Sonsini, and Jack Pierson that arrived right before the show (a few with wet paint still on them) sold throughout the week regardless. Maria offered an explanation for the pace of sales; she heard that the fair directors had trimmed down their VIP entry list this year, which may explain the steady, calculated purchases. Regardless, by Sunday as well, Yvon Lambert’s buyers’ guide was scattered with red dots, seemingly over more than half of their pieces, (with list price averaging around $30,000 – $300,000+.)

Better yet, minutes before the fair doors closed on Sunday, the gallery directors of Galerie Gmurzynska sat merrily drinking champagne, broad smiles on their face. We’d overheard discussion with buyers that the gallery had done well and sold many pieces. But the true reasoning behind their champagne toast became clear when the Wall Street Journal reported that their 1957 Mark Rothko painting, “Saffron,” boldly valued at $30 million, was placed on reserve on Sunday. If that doesn’t merit a celebration, we don’t know what does.


David Zwirner


Dan Flavin, Untitled (1976) at Zwirner

Other galleries, like Lisson Gallery, were more calculated in securing sales by bringing in work that they knew already had garnered strong buyer interest. “We kind of knew who the pieces were going to already, while there have still been some very nice surprises,” said Lisson Gallery’s Associate Director, Alex Logsdail.  He listed Cory Arcangel, Angela de la Cruz, Jonathan Monk, Jason Martin, and Ryan Gander amongst his gallery’s sales.


Waddington Gallery, Booth A1


David Zwirner’s Booth


Anish Kapoor, Lisson Gallery


MadeIn piece at ShanghART Gallery – a kid-friendly favorite

The gallery ShanghART, which gained raves in 2007 for their full-scale Xu Zhen’s ShanghART Supermarket, provided another perspective. While the gallery sold their most prominent piece, a box of rocks that appeared to pulse like a beating heart – due to water undulating below the rubble, (the piece was created MadeIn, a new company led by the visionary Xu Zhen mentioned above), Chen Yan of the gallery expressed that their overall experience of the fair this year was simply “OK” as of Sunday. Chen Yen shrugged it off, “ You know, we are a gallery from Shanghai, so…” While she did not complete the sentence, one can postulate that while no one did as badly as in 2008 or 2009, galleries that presented more risque, conceptually challenging, and less commercially-friendly pieces, as well as other smaller or international galleries that may not yet have as deep rapport with ABMB buyers, may not be clinking wine glasses after the close of this year’s fair. While wallets were out, 2010 was not the year to take chances. Like in the calm after a tropical storm, buyers came out from under their protective covers, but as though they had their palms extended out still feeling for rain. Indeed, they bought. Some even bought up the big ticket items. However, just as many galleries brought less risk adverse pieces, buyers seemed still hesitant and careful this year, reluctant to venture into new territory, i.e. more conceptual pieces or lesser known artists, and slow and deliberate when making purchases. Safe, steady, and sound (albeit with an occasional clink of glasses) was the motto for 2010.


Lehmann Maupin, Booth J16


Nir Hod at Paul Kasmin Gallery


“Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear,” by Jeppe Hein


Alice Neel, Mrs Paul Gardner and Sam (1967) at Zwirner


Hauser + Wirth


The gallerist Mary Boone at Mary Boone Gallery


Wim Delvoye, Cement Truck (2010) at Galerie Perrotin


Gagosian Gallery, Booth J13


Zwirner Gallery, Booth J19


A recreational area at the fair


Donald Judd at David Zwirner


Anish Kapoor


Jim Dine, Green Venus in Heaven (2010)


Marc Quinn, A Moment of Clarity, bronze at Thaddeus Ropac


Sutton Lane


Blake Rayne at Sutton Lane


David Salle at Mary Boone


Eric Fischl and a Terence Koh at Mary Boone


Lisson Gallery


A Cindy Sherman at Skarstedt Gallery


Andy Warhol at
at Skarstedt Gallery


Petah Goyne at Gallerie Lelong


Gallerie Lelong


Julie Mehretu at Marian Goodman


Giuseppe Penone


Robert Longo – Galerie Hans Meyer


John Isaacs – Travesia Cuatro


Mickalene Thomas at Lehman Maupin


Erwin Wurm and Alex Katz, Thaddaeus Ropac, Booth C11


Gardar Eide Einarsson, Come and take it (2008), Team Gallery, Booth G9


Jon Kessler, The last bird runner (1994) at Salon 94, Booth G06


Jon Kessler, The invention of Solitude (1985)


Ai Weiwei, Kui Hua Zi (2008)


Barbara Kruger, Untitled (2005/2006)


Christopher Wool – Luhring Augustine Gallery, Booth J18


John Baldessari at Maria Goodman, Booth j14


Jaume Plensa, To J.W Goethe (Variant IV) (2010) at Richard Gray Gallery


Jeppe Hein, Object in the Mirror are closer than they appear (2007) at 303 Gallery New York, Booth G5


Goodman Gallery, Booth c20


Hreinn Fridfinnsson, Untitled (2009)
at i8 Gallery (Iceland)

(Written by Faith-Ann Young; Photos by Caroline Claisse + FAY )

6 Responses to “AO on Site – Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 – Main Fair Conclusion and Summary”

  1. Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 | Gordana Batic Says:

    [...] AO on Site – Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 – Main fair conclusion and summary: “ [...]

  2. eddie Says:

    the work here identified as john mccracken at david zwirner’s booth is actually a late work by donald judd in painted aluminum called a lescaux/lehni.

  3. Clay Ward Says:

    Lot of big names here. Thanks for the photos, it helps knowing what’s going on. Any pictures of lesser knowns you feel like posting would be cool too. Thanks.

  4. Vivianne Lapointe Says:

    great article!!!

  5. Ghurron Briscoe Says:

    Marc Quinn, A Moment of Clarity is a whirlwind. -Ghurron Briscoe (Nyc)

  6. Vernissage 2010 | LIVE_F>A>S>T> Says:

    [...] The ninth edition of Art Basel Miami Beach attracted 250 exhibitors from 29 countries showcasing modern and contemporary art by more than 2,000 artists. This year, I’ve come to realize that no matter how much of an art lover & connoisseur you are, it’s just about impossible not to get overwhelmed by such a huge amount of art in one place; so if you wanna have a good time at Vernissage, I’d advise to simply pick up a glass of Veuve from the bar, don’t worry about following a site map, step out on your own and let your aesthetic instinct and guide you through the exhibition space. Here are some of my personal discoveries this year; and for more in-depth coverage, click through to FAY’s article on Art Observed. [...]

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