Postcard from Miami: Art Basel Miami Beach

by

Norm Darwish

Where did the roots of today’s art fairs come from? When you and I think “art fair” we are thinking about the row of white tents at a popular destination containing the handmade goods of creative people that (thank goodness) many of us can afford. But here are some earlier roots:

Cathy Leff, director of Miami’s Wolfsonian Museum, says: “I think that Sam Keller has re-invented what we used to call the World’s Fairs, at their height of success between 1850 and 1940. Then, if you wanted to see who had the economic, technological or political power you went to the World’s Fair and it was apparent. Now, if you want to know what’s going on in the art world you can come to Art Basel Miami Beach and see everything.”

Art Basel (pronounced bassle) Miami Beach, (open to the public December 6-9) is the creme de la creme of the worlds art dealers and galleries exhibiting amidst the palm trees of one the the U.S.’s most international cities. This is where collectors line up to purchase artwork methodically that costs as much as my house, make that two houses (or three). Billed as the “Worlds’ Largest Art Fair,” those two little words (art fair) take on a whole new meaning.

Not only will you find 200 galleries displaying art at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but there are 20 (and counting) additional venues in surrounding hotels and halls where you can find plenty of places to spend your money.

Here a few excerpts from Bloomberg.com:

As the wind rustled through Miami’s trademark palm trees last night and deejay Hottpants played underground ’80s tunes, Martin Eisenberg focused on buying a painting by hotshot 25-year-old artist Jeni Spota…

For contemporary art dealers, who operate in the hottest sector of the art market, the Miami fairs is as important as the holiday shopping season at Macy’s. The events put pressure on collectors to buy or miss out, like the rigged-up urgency of high-profile auctions.

Christie’s International, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. achieved record-topping results last month at their contemporary art auctions in New York. Sales totaled $948.2 million and confirmed that, for the moment, the contemporary art market is humming along.”

To read the rest of this article visit: Bloomberg.com/muse

Want to know even more? Google “Art Basel Miami Beach” and you will be able to smell the money as well as the sunshine in lovely Miami Beach.

I think I’d like to be there. Sure beats the snow I am seeing today here.

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One Response to “Postcard from Miami: Art Basel Miami Beach”

  1. Constance Mettler Says:

    Here is a follow up on Art Basel Miami Beach with some interesting comments on the Art of Art Collecting: http://www.portfolio.com/culture-lifestyle/culture-inc/arts/2007/12/05/Basel-Miami-Preview

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