The 9th edition of Art Basel’s sister art fair Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) attracted 46,000 visitors. However, not all galleries were happy: The VIP preview started very calmly. For whatever reasons, the fair had cut the number of VIP tickets.
Then, in the next days there were solid sales of well established art. (Some investors consider this art as a hedge against inflation. )
For dealers specializing in younger art, the fair was not easy. Many had to cut prices in order to find buyers.
- More than 250 leading galleries from 29 countries
- Works by more than 2,000 artists
Unlike Frieze Art Fair, there were also galleries selling classic modernism (like Gmurzynska or Acquavella) or classic fine art photography (Howard Greenberg Gallery). However, the main focus was on contemporary positions.
At the beginning of the current economic crisis, there were a number of observers, who said that only one of the large US art fairs will be able to survive (Armory in New York is the other one). So far, both to have managed to survive.
ABMB’s Selection Committee – comprised of 12 renowned International art dealers – made sure that the quality of the galleries is up to Art Basel standards. Besides the art, the beautiful weather and the legendary parties around the fair have helped to keep ABMB attractive for art collectors.
This year, there was a focus on 4 cites:
- Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010: Detroit
- Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010: Mexico City
- Friday, Dec. 3, 2010: Berlin
- Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010: Glasgow
I liked best the great Broken Hearts Club from Berlin on Friday. Interesting was also the focus on Detroit: I like the idea to get some good art from ground zero of the US automobile industry. Even Linda Yablonsky wrote for the New York Times about the art scene there, a few months ago.
My personal favorite work of art was Ai Weiwei's pile of sonflower seeds at the booth of Urs Meile from Switzerland. It is so to say the living room version of the current installation in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall.
This year, there were still 14 satellite art fairs in Miami. Well, this was not as many as there were in 2008: The total number then was 23.
It took me 2 days to study ABMB thoroughly. Then there were 3 days left to see the satellites and the museum shows. How can anyone manage to see 14 satellite art fairs? No, there are still too many.
A satellite fair, which is very likely to survive for a longer period was ‘Design Miami’: It opened its doors for the sixth time and offered limited edition design/art objects.
Craig Robins, co-owner of the fair said, ‘Last year, we had 14 galleries. This year there are 20 design galleries in the fair.’ The co-ownership of the Art Basel parent company, MCH Group, contributed certainly to the success of Design Miami. This time, it was the first edition without the charming director Ambra Medda. There is no doubt, the show will go on – however, we will miss her!
Overall, I had the impression business was better than in the 2 years before. This does not mean, it was up to the dealer's expectations. The big-name-galleries with their blue-chip artists had a clear advantage in the current situation of the art market.
It was difficult for the younger galleries to find collectors for their less established artists.
by Chris Neuschler
Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami, USA.
Preview: Dec. 1 2010
Open for the public: Dec. 2 – Dec. 5 2010