At Tuesday afternoon’s VIP opening at the Untitled Art fair in South Beach, Florida, which is held in an airy tent right along the water, the mood oscillated between tranquil and exuberant, as veteran dealers returned to the fair and new ones set up shop, all looking to get a sense of the market.
“I think this is a very good crowd!” Hong Gyu Shin, the owner of the Shin Gallery in New York, said with a beaming smile. Shin had just sold a sculpture by Swiss contemporary artist Loredana Sperini for $23,000 to an anonymous buyer whom he would only describe as a woman possessing homes in “a few different locations.” He gestured toward where the piece once stood, and picked up another work by the artist. “I just switched them out!” he said.
Over at the Hole, which is also based in Lower Manhattan, a startlingly subdued Pomeranian named Bertie slept on a table next to gallery director Raymond Pullman, who described the crowd as being about average for the fair. The gallery had sold five paintings and two sculptures, all between the range of $10,000 and $40,000. Among them were works by Adam Parker Smith, Eric Shaw, Morgan Blair, Alex Gardner, and Matthew Stone.
Seattle’s Mariane Ibrahim gallery had also found success in the fair’s first few hours—a piece by Lina Iris Viktor sold for within the range of $30,000 to $40,000. Gallery founder Mariane Ibrahim, whose booth is among the first ones visitors see when entering the fair, told me, “It’s been a very good day, I can’t complain about our placement.” Other pieces she sold included three works by Togolese artist Clay Apenouvon, which went for between $10,000 and $15,000, and a piece by Florine Demosthene valued at $5,000. “I’ve seen a lot of new and different collectors this year—some familiar faces, but a lot of them are new,” Ibrahim said. “We have clients coming back for new pieces, which is good.”
And they will have many chances to come back again and again throughout the week. While Art Basel Miami Beach stays open for five days, and while NADA Miami is on for four, Untitled runs for a total of six days, through Sunday, December 9.