Art Basel Miami Beach doesn’t open its doors to VIP cardholders until tomorrow, but word has gotten around that there are some surprises in store for longtime fairgoers. With the renovation of the convention center still underway, some rejiggering to the booth landscape was necessary, and the tweaks may irk those who have memorized how to get from mega-gallery A to mega-gallery B after years of stalking the aisles.
Gallerists get pretty touchy about Art Basel real estate, and word from inside the fair environs, where installation is now wrapping up, is that it’s taking some gallery staffers 15 minutes to find their booths. It’s a bit reminiscent of the last great gallery booth reshuffling, back at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009, when changes resulted in dazed collectors trying to remember where the Gagosian Gallery booth was and trying to make sense of an unfortunate omission of James Cohan’s name from the list of dealers in the center kiosk.
Last night at the Setai, someone happened to stuff a purloined map into my jacket pocket, and from investigating it today there are some notable changes. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise greets those coming in from the main east entrance, flanked by Sadie Coles HQ, and at that side’s other entrance David Zwirner has been pushed back a few rows, where it now faces Marian Goodman. And the cluster of project-sector galleries that got called up to the majors—47 Canal, Bureau, Peres Projects, Galeria Plan B, and Jessica Silverman Gallery among them—do indeed rub shoulders with the big guys, albeit in what appear to be half-size booths.
An Art Basel rep confirmed that such changes are afoot due to the renovations, and offered a few other tidbits. First off: No more carpets! And we get wider aisles, more cafes, and, for the fancy types, an enlarged and extra spiffy collectors lounge.
As for whether or not any art sells, we’ll have to wait for tomorrow.