Art Basel Miami Beach attracted some 50,000 visitors for the fair’s 10th edition this year in Miami South Beach. Showcasing over 2,000 artists represented by over 260 galleries, the decadent week seemed to exist outside of the current dubious economic situation worldwide. Miami Beach Convention Center hosted the main fair, housing an endless number of gallery booths, a VIP Collectors Lounge, and Art Basel Conversations throughout the week. Nearby the Bass Museum of Art opened a solo exhibition by Erwin Wurm, its front lawn, Collins Park, spotted with sculptures by artists such as Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst. Seventeen satellite fairs got in on the action as well, Art Observed focusing on NADA and OHWOW in particular, while Scope, Pulse, Design Miami, and Art Miami, among others, also drew crowds. The week would not be complete without its exhausting nightlife, exclusive events at hotels like Delano, Mondrian, Raleigh, Shelborne, Shore Club, The Standard Miami, and W, partying late into the morning hours.
While sales typically come in waves strongest toward the beginning of the fair—as more sight-seeing families roll in toward Saturday—galleries commented on the consistency of sales throughout the week this year. A representative at Helly Nahmad Gallery stated, “The market is very solid,” and Joni Weyl of Gemini G.E.L. was pleased by the “healthy spontaneity of purchase.” Both old and new clients arrived at the fair, informed and seemingly tired of not buying. Works in all mediums sold well, be it Tracy Emin‘s neon light sculpture (which went to Sean Combs/P. Diddy, retailing at £60,000), a Murakami painting for $600,000 at Galerie Perrotin, as well as older works like Picassos, Calders, or Basquiats at Helly Nahmad.
David Zwirner sold well across the board, from Minimalist works to much fresher ones, moving Flavins and McCrackens, and entirely selling out Carol Bove. The large Neo Rauch painting remained unspoken for late Saturday afternoon despite the artist’s concurrent show in New York. According to the representative, the gallery’s art fair presence and actual exhibitions are two different programs with little concrete influence on each other. Rauch’s aeruginous bronze sculpture, Die Jägerin, currently showing at Zwirner in New York, had another one of its three editions showing across the convention center at Galeria Elgen + Art on reserve for $850,000.
While Zwirner and White Cube were unable to release any sales figures, Lehmann Maupin informed AO of price ranges. Aside from Emin, mentioned above, Teresita Fernandez sold well, anywhere between $15,000 to $200,000; Mickalene Thomas works were in the $50,000; Do Ho Suh’s single piece, Specimen Series: New York City Apartment, went for between $200,000–300,000. Salon 94, typically selling mid-career artists, sold several large works by Lorna Simpson around $65,000, and works by Marilyn Minter in the $300,000 range.
Swiss Art dealer Marc Jancou whose gallery Marc Jancou Contemporary, based in New York but which recently opened a new gallery in Switzerland with a show by Carter, partook in the Art Kabinett designation, and was notable at the fair for choosing to show only a single artist, Larry Johnson. This effort presented a notable and welcome focus within a booth as visitors stopped to look at the work before them with more context against similar pieces by the artist. Jancou explained to AO “While it takes a great deal of commitment to do a solo show at an artfair, it was important for me to present a truly curated exhibition which did justice to Larry Johnson’s work. I wanted to create a booth that was about experiencing the art rather than just selling it.”
Galleries of course not only hope to sell works at the fair, but build relationships with new and old clients, as well as promote new art. Team Gallery highlighted new works by Ryan McGinley, hoping to catch the eye of those who already buy his work. Anton Kern was excited to showcase the new direction in painting of artist Ellen Birkenblad, while nostalgic cast resin shoes hung over head by Richard Hughes.
In 2011, 10 years after the first Miami fair, Art Basel Miami Beach has grown into one of the largest art fairs in the world. Attracting tabloid fodder celebrities and art world powers alike such as Jeffrey Deitch and Eli Broad, James Murphy and P.Diddy, as well as a fleet of press and other art enthusiasts. Though the influx of visitors seems to stress the city transportation infrastructure to some point of systematic failure at times, the fair has made Miami a global destination, if not only for this one week. Located in a more central location between Europe and the rising South American nations, the palm tree lined city bridges the gap between old and new in many ways.
VIP Art Collectors Lounge, furnished by Herman Miller.
– S. Sveen
Collecting grows among the wealthy [The Art Newspaper]
Issue 4 On Site [The Art Newspaper]
Art Fair: Business Over Activism [NY Times]
A Shark Circles Art Basel Miami Beach [NY Times]
P. Diddy Buys Two Pieces of Art at Opening of Art Basel Miami Beach [The Hollywood Reporter]
Michael Douglas, Eli Broad Rub Elbows Amid Brisk Art Basel Sales [Bloomberg]
Five Things We Enjoyed Most About Basel [Black Book Mag]
Rapper Nas Paints at Art Basel — and Sells His Work for $14,000! [WetPaint.com]
AFP: Strong sales shine at Art Basel Miami Beach [AFP]