From December 7th to December 10th, 2017, Miami hosted the 16th edition of the contemporary Artfair Art Basel. Presented this year in partnership with UBS, this event dedicated to Art lovers and Art professionals attracts crowds. Indeed, over 82 000 visitors, including wealthy Art collectors, Institutionnal Directors and Curators, rushed to the 268 represented galleries:
Art Basel : a historic and forward-looking institution
The Art Basel story started in the 70s. Effectively, gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt are the ones who got the avant-garde idea of bringing galleries to the next level. As a result, the trio intended on hosting at their homebase which ws Basel in Switzerland, an international Artfair gathering the best of contemporary Art. They submitted the concept to Hermann Hauswirth who was the head of Messe Baseln one of the most important exhibition centers in the city. He immediately endorsed it. The first edition was held in June 1970 and attracts over 16 000 visitors. That was the beginning of long lasting success and avant-garde initiatives. In fact, the 80s were marked by the celebration of 150 years of photography which shook the Art world up. As soon as Art Basel started, it particularly drew the attention of American gallerists and Art professionals. Therefore, Art Basel created its alter ego in Miami in 2002.
The 2017 Art Basel Miami : an Artfair marked by important sales
The 16th Art Basel Miami edition hosted 268 gallerists from 32 countries. In that context, a wide range of disciplines were represented. In fact, visitors could admire Artworks from Modern and Contemporary Art ranging from paintings to sculptures, photographs, videos, films and performances. Some Artworks were created just for the Artfair. As the Art world still recovers from hearing the news about the identity of the buyer of Leonard Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi painting for 450 million dollars, the American edition of the Swiss Artfair is not to be outdone when it comes to the sales. Effectively, Art Basel Miami had a volume of 3,5 billion dollars worth of Artworks to be sold. In fact, sales in the six-figure range numbered into the hundreds. The Galerie Thaddeus Ropac for instance sold James Rosenquist’s Coenties Slip Studio (1961) for 2,7 million dollars. Also, the gallery sold Chamberlain Sahsimi’s Sahsimi Mendoza (1979) for 1,35 million dollars.
A scenography redesigned to host the galleries
Since the Miami Beach Convention Center at which the Artfair usually took place, Art Basel Miami had to redesign its 2017 edition layout entirely. In fact, the layout was renewed so it could integrate an additional floor for a 10% increase of exhibition space. As a result there was a special attention to make wider aisles. Also, a wider range of choices in booths’ sizes was available. Noah Horowitz, Director Americas, Art Basel, stated: “2017 was an important year for our show, as well as for the city of Miami Beach. We were thrilled to introduce the enhanced show design and new floor plan (…). We are already eagerly anticipating next year’s edition when the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center will be fully completed”.
Read our article about the 2017 Salon des Beaux Arts here.