Chicago art enthusiasts are casting their eyes southward as Miami Beach prepares to host the best of modern and contemporary art at next month’s Art Basel.
Artificial Rock A-63 by Zhan Wang, 2007.
Since 2002, Art Basel in Miami Beach has grown and expanded at a dizzying rate as artists, gallerists, and collectors converge on Miami each December, making Art Basel in Miami Beach the epicenter event for trending art in the Western Hemisphere. Last year the four-day show broke purchase and attendance records with an estimated $3 billion in sales of paintings, photographs, and sculptures to a crowd of 75,000 art connoisseurs. Art Basel director and Chicago native Marc Spiegler shares insights about what we will see at this year’s fair (December 4-7) and how Art Basel—in Miami Beach and across the globe—is taking the art world by storm.
What are some of the exciting aspects of this year’s show that attendees can expect? Marc Spiegler: With 100 percent of exhibitors in the Galleries sector—which is 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 Michael Jon, Clifton Benevento, Honor Fraser, Freedman Fitzpatrick, Simone Subal Gallery, Garth Greenan Gallery, and Menconi + Schoelkopf. Following the great success of the Public sector 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 they also will be shown inside the Miami Beach Convention Center in a newly designed video viewing room.
Yokos by Jack Early, 2012.
How was Survey, the newest sector being unveiled this year, conceived and 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.
How is Art Basel’s expansion into Asia with Art Basel Hong Kong influencing this year’s Miami edition MS: We certainly see an increase in Asian collectors attending the show in Miami Beach since we started the fair in Hong Kong. There are also more new galleries from China, such as Beijing Commune, as well as Japan, including Take Ninagawa and Y++ Wada Fine Arts.
Kukje Gallery’s booth at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2013.
Last year’s ABMB broke both purchase and attendance records. What is Art Basel doing to keep that momentum going in 2014? MS: 2013 was a hugely successful edition—that’s why all the participating galleries want to come back. We do not take this success for granted but 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 even better and to 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.
With the exponential 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. The show actually has not become bigger over the years, but the competition has certainly become harder.
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 and in new ways of dealing with aesthetics and audiences.
photography courtesy of art basel (spiegler); courtesy fergus Mccaffrey (early); courtesy of long March space (Wang); art basel (kukje gallery); sara gernsbacher/courtesy of michael jon gallery (2c); courtesy of the artist and galerie guido W. baudach, berlin (selg)