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    Upbeat Art Basel Miami Underscores Confident Market

    The tenth edition of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, which opened to VIP collectors on Nov. 30 and ran through Dec. 4, was lively and upbeat, with many dealers reporting robust sales.

    MIAMI BEACH—The tenth edition of the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, which opened to VIP collectors on Nov. 30 and ran through Dec. 4, was lively and upbeat, with many dealers reporting robust sales. Attendance reached a record 50,000, up from 46,000 last year and 42,000 in 2009, organizers reported.

    More than 260 galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa participated, showcasing work by over 2,000 artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. Paintings and photographs dominated the fair, although a number of sculptures and installations also found buyers.

    “It was the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced,” said Michael Rosenfeld, of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York. “People were genuinely excited and in the mood to buy.” The gallery sold 12 of the 30 pieces on view at the booth, including a mixed-media box construction by Joseph Cornell, a Willem de Kooning oil, and an Elie Nadelman bronze sculpture, all priced in the hundred-thousand-dollar range. Works sold went to U.S. private collectors and museums, Rosenfeld said.

    New York dealer James Cohan said buying “was deliberate and not frenzied.” Among the gallery’s sales were: a painting by Fred Tomaselli, Night Music for Raptors – Blue, 2011, which sold for $500,000; a single-channel video work by Bill Viola, Helena, 2008, which sold for $150,000, as well as his three-channel video work, Study for the Path (edition 4 of 5), 2002, which sold for $475,000; Untitled (for G.S.), 2010, a painting by Byron Kim which sold for $65,000; and Simon Evans’s collage New Slogans, 2011, which sold for $85,000. All of these sales were to private collectors, while a museum purchased Yinka Shonibare’s sculpture, Girl on Globe 2, 2011, for £110,000 ($171,500).

    Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York, sold, among other works, a Richard Diebenkorn work on paper, (Untitled) Ocean Park, which was said to have an asking price of $420,000, and a 1986 Gerhard Richter oil painting.

    Tara K. Reddi, vice president of Marlborough Gallery, New York, said “several works were sold within the first few hours,” she said, including two Rashaad Newsome collages, Viscountess of the Magic City and Grand Baron of the Gold Coast, and five paintings by Spanish artist Juan Genovés. “People are interested in a mix of old and new artists,” she said.

    David Zwirner Gallery, New York, sold out of all the Carol Bove works, priced from $60,000/150,000, at its booth on the first day of the fair. The large centerpiece, an assemblage of stand-alone objects titled La Traversée Difficile, 2008, was sold to La Colección Jumex, Mexico City.

    Jay Gorney, director of contemporary art at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, said the gallery did “particularly well with photographs by Catherine Opie in the $30,000 range, works by Amanda Ross-Ho in the $20,000/40,000 range, paintings by Chris Johanson in the $30,000/50,000 range,” as well as with works by Sarah Braman.

    Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago and New York, sold, among other pieces, Marc Swanson’s polyurethane-foam sculpture of a buck for $35,000, Jaume Plensa’s large sculpture titled The Tale-Teller and a number of Cindy Sherman works.

    Steven P. Henry, director of the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, said the the gallery sold works by, among other artists, Kelley Walker, Tauba Auerbach, Dan Walsh, Sherrie Levine, and Mark di Suvero. Prices ranged from $10,000/750,000.