By Matt Stewart | November 21, 2014 | Culture
Top New York gallerists and collectors head south for Art Basel Miami Beach, expected to set new records in sales and attendance this year.
Yokos by Jack Early, 2012
Since 2002 Art Basel in Miami Beach has grown and expanded at a dizzying rate. Each December thousands of artists, gallerists, and collectors gather in Miami Beach to see what’s trending in the ever-hot contemporary art world. Last year, the four-day show set new records with over $3 billion in sales and 75,000 in attendance. Art Basel’s director, Marc Spiegler, shares insights about this year’s fair (December 4–7) and discusses why ABMB continues to take the art world by storm.
ABMB Director Marc Spiegler
What’s new and exciting at this year’s show?
MARC SPIEGLER: With 100 percent of exhibitors in the Galleries sector—the main sector of the fair—reapplying, this year’s list is the strongest yet. We are delighted that a number of US galleries will be joining the show for the first time, including Honor Fraser, Freedman Fitzpatrick, [and New York’s] Michael Jon, Clifton Benevento, Simone Subal Gallery, Garth Greenan Gallery, and Menconi + Schoelkopf. Following the great success of Public last year, I am excited to see this year’s edition, which is again curated by Nicholas Baume of the Public Art Fund in New York. And David Gryn of Artprojx returns with a selection of over 70 film and video works that not only will be screened in SoundScape Park on the 7,000-square-foot projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, but also inside the Miami Beach Convention Center in a newly designed video viewing room.
Artificial Rock A-63 by Zhan Wang, 2007
How was Survey, the newest sector this year, conceived? What will be featured there?
MS: Survey is dedicated to precise art-historical projects. We decided to introduce the sector because we wanted to create a platform that brings more art-historical positions to the show. With all the museum groups and connoisseur collectors attending, we feel there is a real audience at our Miami Beach show for these remarkable works.
Untitled (November) by Paul Freeley, 1965
How is Art Basel’s expansion into Asia with Art Basel in Hong Kong influencing this year’s ABMB?
MS: We certainly see an increase in Asian collectors attending the show in Miami Beach since announcing Hong Kong, for example, as well as new galleries such as Beijing Commune from China and Take Ninagawa and Y++ Wada Fine Arts from Japan.
Visitors to the Kukje Gallery exhibit at ABMB 2013
Last year’s ABMB broke purchase and attendance records. What is Art Basel doing to keep that momentum in 2014?
MS: 2013 was a hugely successful edition—that’s why all the galleries want to come back. We do not take this success for granted, and work very hard to keep the quality at our shows high. Immediately after each show, we look at what we can do to make it better and improve the experience of our guests and exhibitors. What’s great about Miami Beach as an event is that there is always a lot of cultural energy, so we can collaborate with great partners from across the Americas and the rest of the world.
C2 by JPW3, 2014
With the growth of ABMB, what measures have you taken to vet the galleries that participate to maintain your high standards?
MS: Across all our shows, we apply a rigorous selection process that ensures that only galleries with strong programming and a great roster of artists make it into the show. Art Basel Miami Beach actually has not become bigger over the years, but the competition has certainly become tougher.
Untitled (from the series Ping-Poem to Boris) by Lenora DeBarros, 2014
What would you consider to be the fastest growing segment of the art market today?
MS: What we have noticed over the past editions of our shows in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong is that there are very interesting impulses coming from the “digital native generation of artists.” Collectors and curators are highly interested in the work shaped by new media, new ways of dealing with aesthetics and audiences.
photography Courtesy of fergus MCCaffrey (early); long MarCh spaCe (Wang) opposite page: sara gernsbaCher, Courtesy of MiChael Jon gallery (JpW3); Courtesy of the artist and broadWay 1602, neW york (de barros); the artist and garth greenan gallery, neW york (freeley)