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Art Basel Miami Beach concluded with strong and consistent sales across all levels of the market
Kalfayan Galleries © Art Basel.

MIAMI, FLA.- The highly anticipated 17th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach closed on Sunday, December 9, 2018, amid reports of significant sales to private collections and institutions by galleries across all sectors of the market. With the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) completed for this year’s fair, exhibitors and visitors alike praised the refined and more spacious layout and design of the show. The newly designed Grand Ballroom at the MBCC allowed Art Basel to host for the first time a large-scale performative installation onsite: Abraham Cruzvillegas’ 'Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist...’. The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, featured 268 premier galleries from 35 countries, who presented outstanding works, ranging from Modern masterpieces to contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper and film – some of which were created specifically for the fair.

Reinforcing its position as the leading art fair of the Americas, Art Basel in Miami Beach attracted an attendance of 83,000 across the five show days, including influential collectors, directors, curators, trustees and high-level patrons from over 200 leading international museums and cultural institutions such as: Albertine Museum, Vienna; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Art Institute of Chicago; Aspen Art Museum; Baltimore Museum of Art; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Creative Time, New York; Denver Art Museum; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Front International, Cleveland; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Khora Contemporary, Copenhagen; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Medellín; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham; New Museum, New York; Norval Foundation, Cape Town; Philadelphia Museum of Art; São Paulo Museum of Art; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Americas Foundation, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier; VIA Art Fund, Boston; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Noah Horowitz, Director Americas, Art Basel, commented: ‘This year marks an exciting new chapter for our Miami Beach show. The now completely renovated and state of the art Miami Beach Convention Center enables us to deliver a fair of the highest caliber and sophistication, opening up unprecedented possibilities – as we have been able to illustrate with the staging of Abraham Cruzvillegas’ multidisciplinary installation that we presented in partnership with The Kitchen. The quality of work and presentations by our exhibitors have also never been higher and attendance by private collectors and institutions continues to be strong across all regions.’

Galleries exhibiting in all sectors of Art Basel expressed their delight at this year’s show:

‘The 2018 edition of the fair in its spectacularly refurbished home in the Miami Beach Convention Center was a great success for the gallery. Our inaugural year in the Galleries sector and a decade since our first participation in Positions, the fair consistently delivers museum inquiries, major collection sales and critical discourse on the artists presented.’ --David Castillo, Owner, David Castillo Gallery, Miami Beach

‘We have enjoyed a tremendous week in Miami. This year, we took the opportunity to champion work by women artists, including Cecily Brown, Tauba Auerbach, Sophie Calle, Sarah Charlesworth, Liz Glynn, Cady Noland, Jennifer Bartlett and Sherrie Levine. We also exhibited significant works by other artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Joel Shapiro. Our presentation was met with great enthusiasm from collectors, a number of whom were new to us, and we placed a major painting by Cecily Brown with a Latin American Museum.’ --Steven P. Henry, Senior Director, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

‘It is great to see that sales are happening every day of the show, which is very encouraging. Art Basel in Miami Beach is becoming the only fair in America that really counts. Our focus is to concentrate on Art Basel, rather than diluting ourselves with regional fairs, as the caliber of this show attracts top curators and collectors. We see a booth at an Art Basel show as an extension of our gallery space.’ --Alison Jacques, Founder, Alison Jacques Gallery, London

The main sector of the show featured 198 leading galleries from across the world, which presented the highest quality of painting, sculpture, drawings, installation, photography, video and digital works. This year, a strong list of returning participants was joined by 12 galleries that have previously participated in the show’s Nova, Positions or Survey sector: Boers-Li Gallery, Canada, David Castillo Gallery, DC Moore Gallery, Essex Street, Tanya Leighton, mor charpentier, Proyectos Monclova, Ratio 3, Simões de Assis Galeria de Arte, Travesía Cuatro and Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois. Two galleries in the main sector – Kayne Griffin Corcoran and Cardi Gallery – were completely new to the show, while Barbara Thumm returned to the sector after a brief hiatus.

In its sixth year, the sector presented 11 global leaders in the field of prints and editioned works: Alan Cristea Gallery, Crown Point Press, Gemini G.E.L., Carolina Nitsch, Pace Prints, Paragon, Polígrafa Obra Gràfica, STPI, Two Palms, ULAE, as well as Susan Sheehan Gallery, who participated in the Miami Beach show for the first time. Exhibitors in Edition were for the first time spread across the hall to be better integrated into the flow of the show.

Major solo projects were presented by 14 exhibitors in Positions. Highlights from first-time participants included Mexican gallery Parque Galería, who presented the second chapter of the Ecuadorian artist Oscar Santillán’s ‘Dawn and Dusk Seen at Once’ series that narrates the history of science in Latin America; Amsterdam-based Upstream Gallery, presenting ‘La Casa Lobo’, a monumental feature film of stop-motion animations by Chilean artist duo Cristóbal León & Joaquín Cociña; and This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein from Australia, presenting new paintings by Vincent Namatjira that reflect on the artist’s Aboriginal heritage and its complex colonial history. Other first-time participants included: Bodega, Commonwealth and Council, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Madragoa and Galerie Jérôme Poggi.

Providing a platform for galleries to present new work by up to three artists, Nova this year featured 29 exhibitors. First-time participants included: blank projects, Carlos/Ishikawa, Selma Feriani Gallery, Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Grimm, Hanart TZ Gallery, Levy Delval, Josh Lilley, Linn Lühn, Morán Morán, Galleria Lorcan O'Neill Roma and Tiwani Contemporary. Highlights included: ‘World Matters’, an installation inspired by Paleolithic Venus figurines by French artist Marguerite Humeau, presented by Clearing; an installation exploring the impact of colonialism and its remaining cultural artifacts by Claudia Martínez Garay, presented by Grimm; ceramics, textile-based works and a performance video by Mexican artist Pia Camil, presented by Instituto de visión; and an installation featuring text-based wall hangings, paintings and a figurative sculpture by Jeffrey Gibson, presented by Roberts Projects.

The sector returned for its fifth year with 16 focused presentations of work created before 2000. Six exhibitors joined the sector for the first time: Sabrina Amrani, with textile-based works by Chant Avedissian; Tibor de Nagy, with a presentation of works by Larry Rivers; Eric Firestone Gallery, with work by Joe Overstreet from the late 1960s and early 1970s that speaks to the African-American experience; Paci contemporary, with a series of computer-generated composite portraits by Nancy Burson; Venus Over Manhattan, with work by Maryan that merges abstraction and figuration; and Walden, with a series of embroidered fabric works by Feliciano Centurión. Further highlights included Peter Blum Gallery, with a presentation of early works by Joyce J. Scott; Anat Ebgi, who presented works by Paraguayan artist Faith Wilding, recognizing her contribution to the discourse of feminist art history; and Hales Gallery, whose booth featured Virginia Jaramillo's work that reflects on her time in New York during the Black Power movement – a transitional period in her life.

Always a popular highlight of the show, Kabinett consisted of 31 carefully curated exhibitions within booths across the fair. This year, the sector once again demonstrated the Miami Beach show’s strong focus on artists and galleries from the Americas. Highlights included a presentation of both early and later works by Uruguayan artist Washington Barcala at Jorge Mara - La Ruche from Buenos Aires; an exhibition including little-known abstract paintings made between 1954 and 1964 by Romare Bearden at DC Moore Gallery; surrealist drawings by Gray Foy at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art; ‘A Tribute to Richard Gray’ presented by Richard Gray Gallery, a selection of post-war works on paper in tribute to the late art dealer and connoisseur Richard Gray, who passed away earlier this year; and a Kabinett of Brazilian artist Paulo Roberto Leal at Bergamin & Gomide.

‘Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist...’
A performative activation by Abraham Cruzvillegas and Bárbara Foulkes, ‘Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist...’ was presented by Art Basel and The Kitchen, led by Tim Griffin and Lumi Tan, in collaboration with Philipp Kaiser, in the MBCC's new Grand Ballroom. Originally presented in front of a small audience at Pista, an abandoned dance space in Colonia Roma, Mexico City, the installation and performance premiered in the United States at The Kitchen last April. The new iteration of the multidisciplinary installation at the Miami Beach show was adapted specifically for the city, combining elements of sculpture, performance, dance and music. Supported by MGM Resorts Art & Culture, the project was free and open to the public during the week of the show.

Art Basel's renowned talks series, which was attended by nearly 2000 visitors, brought together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed for the fourth and last year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director of Protocinema, Istanbul, the program featured 18 talks, offering perspectives on producing, collecting and exhibiting art and serving as a platform for dialogues and discussions on current topics from feminism in the artworld to blockchain technology. This year’s Premiere Artist Talk was devoted to the Puerto Rican artist duo Allora & Calzadilla. Conversations was free and open to the public. Videos of all Conversations are available at shortly after the show. Next year's Conversations program in Miami Beach will be programmed by writer, gallerist and art fair founder Edward Winkleman.

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Art Basel Miami Beach concluded with strong and consistent sales across all levels of the market

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