Another year of Art Basel Miami Beach is officially in full swing after a bustling first day of sales, exhibitions, installations and parties has wrapped up. The crowds were out in earnest for the press and VIP previews yesterday, as the convention center opened its doors to welcome in a swarm of interested collectors who made no delay in picking up some of the most significant pieces. Collectors and art advisors could be seen frantically talking to cell phones, and dealers jotted down quick figures as the first hours of the fair counted up a solid series of sales.
White Cube Gallery started strong, selling a trio of works for over $1 million in what was easily one of the most popular booths at the fair. Collectors and VIP’s seemed highly interested in the Tracey Emin works on view, likely due in part to the artist’s just-opened retrospective at MOCANoMi, but found themselves contending as well with an adjacent vitrine by Jake and Dinos Chapman, depicting a series of crucified Ronald McDonalds. The contrast and visitor reactions were equally stark.
Pace Gallery brought forth an impressive group booth, with works from Maya Lin, Robert Irwin, Zhang Huan and many more that encapsulated the gallery’s recent activities this year, and underlined some of the star power it has at its disposal. It sold a Jim Dine painting on linen in the early hours of the fair for $120,000. Gagosian Gallery also brought out its biggest guns, with Jeff Koons’s Baroque Egg with Bow sitting in front of the gallery’s booth like a trophy, welcoming passerby to stop and photograph themselves next to the enormous sculpture.
Other works of note included an impressive hanging mirrored work by Jeppe Hein at 303 gallery, several impressive assemblages by Isa Genzken at Hauser and Wirth, and a set of collaborative sculptures by Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin at the Andrea Rosen booth, a set of angular blocks covered in performance wear, lifestyle sports equipment and traffic cones. A break form Trecartin’s past video work, the pieces remained definitively within his vocabulary, delving into the most mundane of influences.
Fondation Beyeler was on hand, bringing an intriguing collaboration with Olafur Eliasson to its booth. The artist’s Little Sun rechargeable lamps were on sale, offered out of the back of a classic canteen truck. The lamps, which can provide light for up to five hours on a rechargeable solar battery, are part of an ongoing sustainability project Eliasson has pushed for the past several years, and reflected a slightly less commerce focused side of the fair.
Also of note was the intriguing Positions section of the fair, with a number of bizarre, imaginative and whimsical installations and structures that demanded an extended consideration, and offered a fine counterpoint to the glut of sculptures and paintings on view throughout the convention center. In one corner, artist Wang Yuyang’s government office installation made for an eerie experience, changing Tang Contemporary’s space into a mundane cubicle where all of the materials in the room appeared to be breathing. Nearby, artists Naomi Fisher and Jim Drain entertained visitors with a secluded tiki bar, where they offered freshly cut coconut cocktails in a palm-filled milieu.
As the fair opens to the public today, initial estimates are already anticipating a tally of over 50,000 visitors for the 4 day fair, which will continue through to Sunday.
“Your Guide to Art Basel Miami Beach” [Forbes]
“Spotlight on Art Basel Miami Beach” [ArtNet]
“Wang Yuyang’s ABMB Installation Is a Booth-Sized Government Office That Breathes” [Art Info]
“Spotlight on Art Basel Miami Beach 2013″ [Artnet]
“Art Basel in Miami Beach fair opens with healthy crowds, strong sales” [Miami Herald]
“Art Miami embodies the South Beach aesthetic” [Art Newspaper]
“ABMB Has a Secret Bar, Too! Artist Naomi Fisher on the Tropical Watering Hole Installation” [Art Info]