The doors have opened on the latest edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, bringing a stream of collectors and dealers into the Miami Beach Convention Center for another year of the fair’s high-profile sales, and an annual look back at the year for the art world. Commanding a roster of over 280 galleries from around the world, the marquee event of the fall market season in the U.S., and one of the biggest social events of the art world calendar has gotten underway, with thousands flocking to the sun and sand of the Florida metropolis for one of the largest editions of the fair, which celebrates its 20th year this year.
Marking a strong comeback after several years of uncertainty and turbulence, this year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was vibrant, with collectors, gallerists and artists packing the aisles for the early hours of selling. The fair offered a strong selection, with diverse offerings across the snaking aisles of the Miami Beach Convention Center. At Peter Freeman, artist Thomas Schütte was presenting a massive sculpture of a figure reaching to the sky, continuing the artist’s engaging experiments with the human form and its poses, while at at Sikkema Jenkins, artist Maria Nepomuceno was showing a series of colorful, organic forms, a decidedly more grounded approach to the body. Meanwhile, over at Jeffrey Deitch, one could view a range of works, including a colorful wall piece by Swoon. Kamel Mennour was also on hand, presenting a range of works including a deep blue piece by Anish Kapoor.
Sales matched the pace of the fair’s opening day, with a number of early trophies moving quickly. Pace sold an Agnes Martin canvas for a strong $7 million, as well as an Andy Warhol Flowers piece for $3.8 million, while at Massimo De Carlo, the gallery sold a string of works between $20,000 and $175,000. Hauser & Wirth also had a strong early fair, tallying $18 million in the opening hours of the event.
All told, it would seem that the turbulent past few months have set the stage for a fair where many are looking for a momentary escape, a diversion from the challenges of the last few years through art or other creative pursuits. With its sprawling aisles of art, the bright sunshine and rushing surf close by, Art Basel Miami Beach seems to still offer an alluring draw for art lovers of all stripes.
The fair opens to the public December 1st and runs through December 3rd.
– D. Creahan
Art Basel Miami Beach [Exhibition Site]