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Exceptionally High Quality and Very Solid Sales at Art Basel Miami Beach 2009
Mobiles by artist Alexander Calder were shown by the Helly Nahmad Gallery during the Art Basel Miami Beach Vernissage in Miami Beach, Fla. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky.

MIAMI, FL.- The eighth edition of Art Basel Miami Beach closed on Sunday, December 6, 2009. More than 250 galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa exhibited works by over 2,000 artists. With a program of special exhibitions, panel discussions, private collection tours, and events featuring film, performance, and video, the show attracted 42,000 visitors. Visitors included art collectors, museum directors, curators and cultural journalists from all over the United States and the rest of the world. A great number of artists also attended the event, among them Chuck Close, Ingar Dragset, Claire Fontaine, Matthew Day Jackson, Kris Martin, Marilyn Minter, James Rosenquist, Fred Tomaselli, Ai Weiwei, Pae White, and Kehinde Wiley. Over 100 museum and institution groups also visited the show, as did private collectors from the Americas, Europe and many emerging markets of the artworld.

Art Basel Miami Beach proved again that high-quality works remain in strong demand, as collectors rewarded excellent material and booth presentations with steady sales throughout the week. The new layout of Art Basel Miami Beach included larger spaces for many galleries. Many exhibitors also reported excellent sales and valuable new contacts, especially in Latin America. Gallerists offered positive reports, including:

David Zwirner, David Zwirner Gallery, New York “This was a surprisingly strong show. The show certainly confirmed the trend that started at Art Basel in June. This art market is stabilizing and gaining momentum. During the last twelve months, most business was conducted with established collectors. Here in Miami, it was nice to see some altogether new faces. While most business took place below one million dollars, there were also trades above that figure.”

Tim Neuger, neugerriemschneider, Berlin “We came with a solo presentation by Jorge Pardo, who wanted us to show a large scale architectural piece, one of his palapas (a tropical pavilion) and it generated a lot of interest, indeed. Believing in idealistic gestures is once again becoming reality.”

Roger Tatley, Senior Director, Alison Jacques Gallery, London “We’ve had a great Art Basel Miami Beach. The response from museums has been fantastic and sales strong. The decision to exhibit a large group of Hannah Wilke works from the 1970s, along with iconic vintage self portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe, together with other gallery artists, has been extremely rewarding.”

Robert Peter Miller, Robert Miller Gallery, New York “Because of the artists we represent, I feel that we benefitted from the less frenetic and more contemplative pace of the fair. We had many more sales than in any previous Art Basel Miami Beach.”

John Mollett, Jan Krugier Gallery, New York “This year shows that things are picking up again. The positive energy that had always driven this fair has come back, especially when you compare it to last year. Confidence is contagious, so if the dealers are optimistic, so are the collectors, and vice versa.”

Andrew da Conceicao, Director, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town “It has been a long while since we have met this many new and serious collectors and curators in such a short time span. We have always felt that Americans connect particularly strongly to our program, and Art Basel Miami Beach more than confirmed this for us. Conversations we’ve had in the past few days will continue well beyond the fair, and we hope that Miami will become a new point of reference for our gallery. We are leaving with a big smile on our face.”

Phil Grauer, Partner, Canada Gallery, New York “We sold our booth quickly and easily to very good collections. Having an Art Positions booth in the central area has brought a sense of community back to the fair.”

This year’s Art Kabinett was of high quality and showed an interesting mix of carefully curated exhibitions in the booths of the galleries. Twenty-eight galleries – more than ever before – presented an Art Kabinett. The projects in this sector of the show featured a wide array of artists, ranging from emerging artists such as Jakub Julian Ziotkowski, Haegue Yang and Latifa Echakhch to historical figures like Marcel Duchamp, George Grosz and Jack Tworkov. Further highlights included projects by Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, Richard Prince and Wim Delvoye. Group shows included exhibitions titled “Fluxus”, “Ninety Years of Bauhaus” and “Aspects of Pop Art”.

The Art Nova sector presented recent works, often fresh from the studio. Pieces by more than 130 artists from around the globe were on display in Art Nova, including 17 solo shows, featuring artists such as Marc Bijl, Valie Export, Rashid Rana, Dan Attoe, Michael Beutler, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Jose Dávila and Marine Hugonnier.

The Art Positions sector – focused on special projects by young artists and galleries – was located for the first time in the center of the Miami Beach Convention Center and proved to be a favorite among visitors, bringing young energy into the halls. Art Positions featured new works by artists such as Renate Lorenz, Falke Pisano, Ulla von Brandenburg, Agathe Snow, Egill Saebjornsson and Reena Spaulings.

Art Projects, newly curated by Patrick Charpenel of Guadalajara, Mexico, featured 13 projects by internationally renowned artists such as Santiago Sierra, Claire Fontaine, William Pope.L, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Franz West. The projects were installed in the outdoor public spaces of Miami Beach, within close proximity to the Oceanfront area and the Miami Beach Convention Center. Art Projects attracted many visitors, especially during the performance by Rirkrit Tiravanija in the W South Beach hotel. Another major highlight was the floating house in the Ocean by Jorge Mayet.

The new Oceanfront environment, created by Los Angeles artist Pae White was a highlight of this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach and proved popular with the public. White’s immersive and interactive cityscape provided a new experience with each visit, transforming at night into a shadowy group of buildings. White’s largest project to date, it also hosted a daily program including the Art Basel Conversations, Art Perform, Art Video and Art Film which were well-visited in the mornings and evenings. Art Video, curated by Creative Time, involved screenings of videos by Tom Sachs and The Neistat Brothers, Marc Horowitz, Jill Magid, Kon Trubkovich, followed by discussions with the artists. Art Perform featured an intensified program of longer performances by rising international artists. This program was again curated by Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco. It featured performances by Kelly Nipper, Kris Martin, Simon Fujiwara, Claire Fontaine, and Mario Garcia Torres / Loris Gréaud.

This year’s Art Film event offered an exclusive work-in-progress sneak preview of the feature documentary film “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”, preceded by a panel with director Tamra Davis, art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, co-producer David Koh, and hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, moderated by Bob Colacello. Directed by Davis, the film featured a long and never-before-seen interview with Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), shot shortly before his death. Art Film was curated by Zurich film connaisseur This Brunner.

Many leading art-world figures appeared in the Art Basel Conversations. Located this year for the first time at the Oceanfront, the Art Basel Conversations were especially wellattended by the artworld and the broader public in their new location by the beach. The premiere presented an artist talk with Ai Weiwei, followed by “Museum Directors: Change in Generation”, “Collector Focus: Latin America” and “The Future of the Museum: The Portable Museum”.

Art Salon, located this year for the first time in the central area of the Miami Beach Convention Center, evolved well in its new location. Participants included artworld figures such as Pae White, Jens Hoffmann, Fred Tomaselli, Mark Rosenthal, James Rosenquist, Klaus Biesenbach and Josh Baer.

Museum Groups
More than a hundred international museum and collectors groups came from all over the world to attend Art Basel Miami Beach. The delegations included boards of trustees from Museo de Arte de Lima; Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MOCA Los Angeles; Guggenheim Museum New York; Museu de Arte Moderna Sao Paulo; Dallas Museum of Art; MCA Denver; Birmingham Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; Art Institute of Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; New Museum, New York; and many more.

Museum exhibitions and collections
Following long tradition, the Miami museums organized significant exhibitions. A particular highlight was the opening of the newly built De La Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space in Miami’s Design District, which attracted a large number of visitors every day during Art Basel Miami Beach. Other shows included exhibitions presenting Guillermo Kuitca at the Miami Art Museum, “Art from the Jumex Collection” at the Bass Museum, William Kentridge at the Norton Museum, George Segal at the Margulies Collection, “The Realms of Reality” at MOCA Miami, and Raymond Pettibon and Sylvie Fleury at World Class Boxing. Once again, Miami’s leading private collections – among them the Margulies Collection, the Rubell Family Collection, CIFO, the De La Cruz Collection, the Mora Collection, the Scholl Collection, and the Dacra Collection – opened their homes and warehouses to guests of the international art show. The daily visits to artist studios in the Greater Miami area were also very popular with visitors.

Art Basel Miami Beach | Chuck Close | Ingar Dragset | Claire Fontaine | Art Salon |

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