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Art Miami's 20th Anniversary Edition Celebrates Strong Attendance and Sales
“There were more people than last year. It feels like a new beginning,” said Wilhelm Grusdat of Galerie Terminus, which sold four Jan Davidoff pieces, along with pieces by Dietrich Klinge, Gerhard Richter and Roy Lichtenstein.

MIAMI, FL.- Art Miami, the longest running contemporary art fair in Miami and the anchor art fair for the city of Miami, reported outstanding results during Art Week Miami 2009, exceeding the expectations of many. More than 35,000 people visited the fair during the course of the week – an increase of 10% from last year.

“We were delighted to have a large turnout of serious, committed collectors, museum curators and others drawn by the exciting work that was exhibited at Art Miami this year. Once again, buyers responded to the Fair’s international mix of work and galleries. Sales were very strong,” Director Nick Korniloff commented.

Art Miami’s stellar 2009 run began on December 1st with a ribbon cutting and a 20th Anniversary Proclamation presentation by Miami City Commissioner Bruno Barreiro. A gala VIP reception, attended by 6,500 people, followed. At what Caldwell Snyder Gallery called “the best opening of any art fair,” museum curators rubbed elbows with artists including James Rosenquist and Frank Stella and with collectors from the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia—Steve Wynn, Marvin Ross Friedman, Marty Margulies, Jorge Perez, Pat and Larry Stewart, Mary and Frank Howard, Joyce Kan, Pearl Lam, Noel and Terry Neelands, John Ferin, Jeff Roth, Matthew Adell, and Naomi Campbell. Opening night proceeds and a percentage of sales from participating galleries benefited The Lotus House Women’s Shelter, netting nearly $9,000 for the program. In the two years of its involvement, Art Miami has raised more than $40,000 for the shelter, founded in 2006 by Constance Collins Margulies and the Sundari Foundation. The opening night event was crowned by a multimedia performance by the Black Estate presented by Claire Oliver Gallery.

“There were more people than last year. It feels like a new beginning,” said Wilhelm Grusdat of Galerie Terminus, which sold four Jan Davidoff pieces, along with pieces by Dietrich Klinge, Gerhard Richter and Roy Lichtenstein.

“The Fair looked amazing. There were many qualified collectors and a lot of interest,” reported William Shearburn of William Shearburn Gallery whose sales included a Donald Bachelor painting, a Carl Andre sculpture, a David Buckingham piece, and a Bernar Venet sculpture that brought $40,000.

“Sales were great—from blue chip to gallery artists,” according to Scott White, of Scott White Contemporary Art, whose sales included works by Willem de Kooning, Lynda Benglis, and Christopher Reilly.

“We were very satisfied. We met many new collectors,” noted Ramón Cernuda of Cernuda Arte, which sold nineteen pieces, including important work by established Latin American artists such as Wifredo Lam and Rene Portocarrero, and contemporary Cuban artists Flora Fong and Miguel Florido.

“We were pleased with the results of the fair in terms of sales and collector turnout,” said Asher Edelman of Edelman Arts.

“Better than ever! Sign me up for 2010,” said exhibitor Bernice Steinbaum of the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Art Miami’s official host gallery.

Known for depth, diversity and quality, Art Miami exhibitors showcased the best modern and contemporary art. New York and Palm Beach collector Carol Mack said, “It’s a sensational fair, with a great variety of work, something for everybody, a balance of contemporary and modern.” Audrey Gruss concurred. “The fair has an open spacious feeling,” she said. “It’s nice to walk in the wide aisles and look at the art. This is very practical – you can see the art from the distance. It’s easy to find the galleries – the fair is laid out simply and practically. There are wonderful galleries and affordable prices.”

Contributing to the excitement of the event, Art Miami presented “Mapping the Blank Spots,” a video program highlighting the work of 10 international artists, curated by Asher Remy Toledo and Julia Draganovic. The Fair also hosted ArtTable’s annual Miami event, which recognized the achievements of South Florida women in the visual arts. In addition, Asher Edelman of Edelman Arts spoke about the history and the future of investing in art and there was an art bloggers’ panel discussion on December 5th.

Responding to the exhibited work, reasonable prices, the Fair’s vitality and what dealer Susan Eley calls its “low key informal vibe,” sales reports were extremely upbeat. These included a Chuck Close tapestry for $120,000 and “a major Miro” that brought six figures at Contessa Gallery, two Jean Dubuffet pieces that sold in “the hundreds of thousands” at David Klein Gallery, an Eric Fischl painting at $300,000, a Frank Stella for $145,000, and two works by John Chamberlain at $200,000 and $300,000 at Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc.; a Gottfried Helnwein painting that went “for six figures” at Barry Friedman Ltd; a Zhu Wei at $150,000 at Eli Klein Fine Art; and three, full photography portfolios of 10 images each of Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe for $220,000 per portfolio at Rudolf Budja Gallery, LLC.

Sales were also lively for works priced under $100,000. These included two paintings by Thomas Downing at Gary Snyder/Project Space, and work by Latin American and Chinese artists, such as a Wifredo Lam at Cernuda Arte; a Jesús Rafael Soto at Leon Tovar Gallery; an Ai WeiWei sculpture at Friedman Benda; and work by Zhang Dali and Zhao Kailin at Eli Klein Fine Art.

In photography, ChinaSquare Gallery’s Alex Guofeng Cao’s images of Bruni vs Sarkozy, JFK vs Marilyn and Obama vs Lincoln sold out; The Miami Herald did a cover story about this unusual work. Four David Drebin “Champion” photographs sold at Contessa Gallery – two for $20,000 and two for $25,000; a Starn Twins image for $40,000 at HackelBury Fine Art Ltd; a Julia Fullerton-Batten photograph for $17,000 at Jenkins Johnson Gallery; a Deborah Oropallo image for $16,000 at Turner Carroll Gallery; and a Martin Schoeller image of Clint Eastwood for $10,000 at Hasted Hunt Kraeutler.

Unique among the fairs of Miami Art Week for including decorative arts, African tribal art, Pre-Colombian art, Japanese bamboo art, textiles and kiln formed glass, Art Miami also yielded good results for design, including a Wendell Castle table at Barry Friedman Ltd, and tribal art, such as the two Shipibo stone vessels from the Amazon region of Peru at $7,200 each, sold by Douglas Dawson Gallery.

Art Miami exhibitors were also pleased with other results. For instance, Laurence Miller Gallery reported a powerful response to Denis Darzacq's work that led the gallery to extend the run of his upcoming New York exhibition. And exhibitor Claire Oliver noted that artist Kate Clark, whom she represents, was offered two museum shows.

“It’s been a great show, exceptional,” said Steve Hartman of Contessa Gallery. “I’m ecstatic. There was a large and interested crowd. The fair looked extraordinary. The new owners did a wonderful job. Collectors who have budgeted for the next year were buying because of great deals. The post-fair sales will also be exceptional – we have lots of pieces in play.”

“We’re in a recovery,” declared Karen Jenkins of Jenkins Johnson Gallery. Others agreed. “The collectors are back,” said Stefan Stux of Stux Gallery. “The desire to buy art is back.”

Art Miami | Nick Korniloff | Bruno Barreiro |

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