Photos courtesy Patrick McMullan

If you find it a challenge to read through these four days of Art Diaries, try walking through them. Miami Art Week is an almost endless exhibition of art in every possible format. After spending a week in Miami, I would describe viewing art as an aerobic exercise. There are literally miles of galleries that you can walk through or by. If you like art this is where you need to be. This finaldiary entry is aimed at serious collectors who want to know the details of who showed which artists and who said what about Art Basel. One tip: Book your hotel for next year’s Miami Art Week now, as it will be here faster than you can say Andy Warhol. Art Miami will kick off December 6, 2017 and Art Basel on December 7, 2017.

Art Basel: 15th Edition

Barbra Streisand, Claude Picasso and Audrey Gruss led the perfumed pack to the VIP preview of Art Basel. Gallerists from Basel founded this fair in 1970. Art Basel today stages one of the premier art shows for modern and contemporary art in the world. Here is their report card. The fair closed amidst praise from participating galleries who reported healthy sales. The show, whose lead partner is UBS, featured 269 world-class galleries from 29 countries who presented exceptional works, ranging from modern masterpieces to contemporary paintings, films, sculptures and installations by established and emerging artists. In a challenging sociopolitical and economic landscape, this edition demonstrated that works presented by leading galleries continue to drive demand and attendance from international collectors. Several galleries chose to present powerful and emotive works that address these issues. During the five days of the show, the fair attracted 77,000 of the art world’s cognoscenti. 

What the Top Galleries Showed

Artworks by modern masters were presented throughout the show, including paintings and sculptures by Pablo Picasso at Helly Nahmad Gallery; rarely seen pieces by Dada and Surrealist artists at Di Donna; a group show of post-war avant-garde Italian artists at Tornabuoni Art and celebrated Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo at Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art. Among the contemporary art presented, Goodman Gallery celebrated its 50th anniversary with works by African artist William Kentridge; Mitchell-Innes & Nash showed an iconic painting by Tom Wesselmann; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac included an important work by Robert Rauschenberg; while Acquavella Galleries brought an exceptional canvas from 1964 by Kenneth Noland; Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery featured a wide range of Dansaekhwa artists, including Park Seo-Bo, Ha Chong-Hyun and Chung Sang-Hwa.

What the Gallerists Said

“We were particularly delighted to see an exceptional range of collectors from China, South America and Europe. The response to Jonathan Horowitz, who engaged with the political zeitgeist as part of his ‘Dear Ivanka’ social media campaign, was extraordinary. Nova and Positions were also exceptionally strong, the younger generation of galleries put a powerful foot forward this year.” — Sadie Coles, owner, Sadie Coles HQ, London

“I am happy to report that we sold a painting by Kees van Dongen early in the show. We also placed a Chagall from 1944, which we could have sold several times over, there was so much interest. What is terrific about Art Basel in Miami Beach is that works in the fair range from the early 1900s up until the present day, and this enables collectors to better understand the evolution of artistic movements.” — Howard Shaw, director, Hammer Galleries, New York

“The atmosphere of the fair this year has been wonderful and we had a great first day, selling five seminal works in the first hour. We have been extremely pleased in particular with the level of interest we have received from European and American museums.”- Dominique Lévy, founder and owner, New York and London.

“We displayed the work of Julio Le Parc in our booth to honor his first US museum retrospective at the Pérez Art Museum. Our artists enamored collectors and representatives from institutions at the fair this year.” – Nara Roesler, owner, Galeria Nara Roesler, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and New York.

“We are thrilled to have been able to expose the work of Carmelo Arden Quin to a broader base of international private collectors as well as major institutions, such as MoMA and Tate. As a result, we have had numerous meaningful conversations and many of the works we brought to sold.” – Guilherme Simões de Assis, Partner, Simões de Assis Galeria de Arte, Curitiba.

Galleries that addressed the current and uncertain sociopolitical landscape in their booths with deeper and more political art included: Pilar Corrias, Gavin Brown’s enterprise and neugerriemschneider with new artworks by Rirkrit Tiravanija; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects who prominently featured Karl Haendel’s portrait of Hilary Clinton; Blum & Poe’s notable display of Sam Durant; and new work by Jonathan Horowitz at Sadie Coles HQ. Other highlights from the sector included Michael Heizer at Peter Freeman, Inc., Kerry James Marshall at Jack Shainman and Mira Schendel at Bergamin & Gomide.

A much-loved sector of the show, Kabinett, consisted of 29 curated exhibitions within booths across the fair. At Kavi Gupta, Irena Haiduk transformed the gallery’s stand into a candy store, selling authentic Balkan confections representing different political regimes, while Alexander Gray Associates presented allegorical paintings by Hugh Steers that capture the emotional and political tenor of New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rhona Hoffman Gallery celebrated its 40th anniversary with new works by Derrick Adams and Kurimanzutto featured Carlos Amorales’ first paintings incorporating color. Works with a focus on everyday objects were featured at Sperone Westwater, with recent sculptural pieces by Tom Sachs and at Polígrafa Obra Gràfica with 66 lithographs by Rose Wylie.

Film at Art Basel 

David Gryn, director of data editions and London’s Artprojx, once again curated the show’s film program, which brought together over 50 films and video works by artists drawn from the show’s participating galleries. Screenings took place throughout the week both in SoundScape Park on the 7,000 square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center and in the Film Library located within the Miami Beach Convention Center. Gryn’s short film program, titled ‘Best Dressed Chicken in Town’ focused on a selection of international artists who engage with music in a multitude of ways, while the ‘Double Bill’ program paired two film works that share similar approaches to an intense musical score: Rita Ackermann with Christian Marclay, and Liliana Porter with Alfredo Jaar. The evening screenings were preceded by a selection of sound works by Ain Bailey, Zoë Buckman, A.K. Burns, Jonathan Montague, Molly Palmer and Susannah Stark. Returning to the show for her second year, New York-based film consultant Marian Masone selected the feature film to be screened at the Colony Theater: Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back directed by Maura Axelrod.

How To Get Your Work Into Art Basel

The Selection Committee for Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach is comprised of renowned international gallerists: Tim Blum, Blum & Poe; Chantal Crousel, Galerie Chantal Crousel; Peter Freeman, Peter Freeman, Inc.; José Kuri, kurimanzutto; Friedrich Petzel, Petzel Gallery; and Mary Sabbatino, Galerie Lelong. The experts for the Nova and Positions sectors are Márcio Botner, A Gentil Carioca; Oliver Newton, 47 Canal and Tanya Leighton. The expert for the Florida galleries is Fredric Snitzer of Fredric Snitzer Gallery.

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