Monday, December 12, 2016

THE ARTS - Miami's Art Basel

"Miami's extravagant Art Basel reflects the new economics of art" PBS NewsHour 12/5/2016


SUMMARY:  This past weekend, Miami hosted Art Basel, the largest art fair in the country.  The annual event draws people from across the globe, this year, 269 galleries from 29 countries participated.  While the Zika scare may have suppressed attendance slightly, the festival drove plenty of discussion, including about politics and the dramatic sales growth of very high-end art.  Jeffrey Brown has more.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  A family reunion for the international art tribe, a trade show, but one that includes some up-to-the-moment political commentary, Art Basel Miami Beach is all of that and more, art of all shapes and sizes and colors and kinds, and all for sale.

It can be head-spinning, or, if you're a prominent gallery owner like Jack Shainman, nightmare-inducing:

JACK SHAINMAN, Jack Shainman Gallery:  A lot happens the first days or the first few hours.  In fact, one of my anxiety dreams that I have when I travel is that all these collectors show up at my booth at the same time at an art fair, and I can't talk to all of them at once.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Here at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 269 high-end galleries from 29 countries around the world take part in the main art fair, last year attracting 95,000 viewers and collectors over six days.

Fred Bidwell was back this year.

FRED BIDWELL, Art Collector:  This is crazy.  This is more art than the human mind could possibly perceive.

JEFFREY BROWN:  With billions of dollars on the line, including new money from abroad, New York gallery owners James and Jane Cohan have a lot at stake.

JANE COHAN, James Cohan Gallery:  We really know the kinds of things our clients are looking for.  So, when we have something that's spectacular, they have been interested in a certain artist, we have a spectacular work, we're going to let them know that we're bringing it to the fair, and then they can come and see it.

JEFFREY BROWN:  So, a little bit of this is sort of precooked?

JANE COHAN:  Absolutely.  But I still really believe that you have to see a work of art in person to fall in love.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Collectors come in all forms, trophy hunters, speculators, and actual lovers of art.

This fair, an offshoot of one in Basel, Switzerland, is known for attracting Latin American art and collectors, including Tiqui Atencio, who's just written a book about collecting art.

TIQUI ATENCIO, Art Collector/Author:  I walked into a gallery that I love, which is the Brazilian gallery from Sao Paulo, Fontes de Deloya.

And I started looking around, and I saw these two wonderful Latin American artists from Brazil in their 20s.  And I thought, oh, my God, these are fantastic artists.

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