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By Matt Stewart | December 6, 2017 | Culture
Coming off a remarkable year, the Art Basel juggernaut is geared up to continue dominating the contemporary arts world in America and across the globe.
“THE TASK” (2014) by Liliana Porter will be exhibited by Ruth Benzacar Galeria de Arte at the Galleries sector.
Aspen and Art Basel have strong connections. With a number of world-class collectors calling the Roaring Fork Valley home and institutions like The Aspen Art Museum and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center at the heart of Aspen’s cultural life, it’s natural Art Basel’s global fairs are must-attend events. Full-and part-time residents, including Nancy and Dr. Robert Magoon and John and Amy Phelan, are regulars at Art Basel Miami Beach, while Debra and Dennis Scholl are not only Art Basel Miami Beach habitués, but their renowned collection of contemporary art is housed at the by-appointment-only World Class Boxing in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
The strength of the Art Basel brand over the past year has many Aspenites excited to attend the next editions of Art Basel in Miami Beach, Fla.; Hong Kong; and Basel, Switzerland, but the outlook for Art Basel was not so rosy a year ago. Prophecies of populist revolutions were spurred on by Brexit and the U.S. elections, saber rattling from North Korea was beginning to unnerve Asia, and the threat of the Zika virus had Miami deeply worried. Despite all of this, attendance and gallery participation at Art Basel’s fairs proved impressive, and robust sales abounded. “The success of last year’s fair speaks to the continued strength of the art market and the outstanding quality of the works,” says Noah Horowitz, director Americas for Art Basel. “[It] underlined how art can be a powerful tool to address social and political issues.”
Art Basel in Miami Beach hosted 77,000 guests last December and generated some standout sales, including “Another Storm” 1963 by legendary abstract expressionist Lee Krasner selling for $6 million. Art Basel in Hong Kong welcomed 70,000 visitors in March and kicked off with London’s Sadie Coles HQ selling a Rudolf Stingel abstract painting for $1.2 million within the first few hours. Art Basel in Basel opened on the heels of a $1 billion-plus New York auction week that included the record-breaking sale of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled” for $110.5 million. That momentum had galleries coming in strong, including the David Zwirner Gallery arriving with nearly $100 million worth of art that, by day two, netted close to $40 million in sales.
Press coverage surrounding the art world tends to focus on big ticket sales. Despite this dramatic spotlight, Art Basel features a wide array of works. “Those multimilliondollar price points remain an important indicator of the state of the contemporary art market, but only reflect a very small portion of the overall market,” says Marc Spiegler, global director of Art Basel. “Our shows give a much broader view. At any given Art Basel show, galleries participating represent more than 4,000 artists—ranging from the young to midcareer, as well as established. Those works range from four-figure price points up to millions of dollars.”
Whether you’re looking to purchase a world-class work, sit in on a conversation with renowned art experts or are coming to observe the spectacle and creative energy, Art Basel is the place to see and be seen.
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