MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA.- The third edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, the international art show, closed on Sunday, December 5, 2004. Outstanding works of art, good to excellent sales, a high-caliber international audience: Art Basel Miami Beach has impressively confirmed and enhanced its position as the leading art fair for contemporary art on the American continent. The exhibiting galleries, world press, and international visitors gave Art Basel Miami Beach the highest marks, describing it as a successful, exciting event. 190 galleries from the USA, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa actively took part, with a record number of 33’000 visitors and 800 representatives of the media which greatly exceeded last years count. Samuel Keller, Director of Art Basel Miami Beach, was gratified by the results: «The third edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was a festival of art. The participating galleries did their utmost to present their artists’ finest works in Miami and were richly rewarded for their efforts. The appetite for contemporary art has never been stronger.»
Art Basel Miami Beach is an event that combines an art show with an exciting program of special exhibitions, panel discussions, visits to private art collections, and crossover events featuring music, film, architecture, and design. The mild South Florida weather welcomed a record number of the multi-cultural 33’000 visitors from every continent to Miami Beach. The 190 leading galleries from the world's major art capitals, the international press, and the public agreed that the third Art Basel Miami Beach was an overwhelming success. Thanks to its prominent line-up of participants and its wide range of international visitors, Art Basel Miami Beach has impressively confirmed its reputation as the foremost contemporary art fair on the American continent.
Art Basel Miami Beach attracted thousands of leading collectors, artists, curators, art critics, art dealers, and art lovers from around the globe. 800 representatives of the print, radio and television media visited the international art event. Art Basel Miami Beach had the privilege of welcoming 6’000 prominent guests to the Vernissage preceding the official opening.
More than 80 museum groups from all over the world flocked to Art Basel Miami Beach. New York delegations came from the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Further groups came from the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, and from over thirty other US cities. There were also museum and collector groups from Canada, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, and most of the Latin American countries. Curators and private collectors from all of the world's major art capitals were able to gather information on the best that the international art market has to offer. The art experts present rated the works on display as excellent in quality and fresh to the market. The exhibiting galleries spared no effort to present the most interesting works of art in carefully designed exhibitions. Various booths showed thematically grouped exhibits and one-person shows of artists. Many galleries presented newly created pieces, video works, and large installations.
The «Art Sound Lounge» introduced in and around the pool of the Delano Hotel this year was an enormous success. Daily from noon till midnight, interested visitors were able to go to the hotel’s pool and subtropical gardens to enjoy audio pieces by contemporary artists and musicians such as Elliott Sharp, Christian Marclay, Malcolm McClaren, Lou Reed, John Cale, Rodney Graham, Hermann Nitsch, and others .The internet radio station WPS1.org broadcast the latest news on Art Basel Miami Beach for three hours every day.
The newly expanded «Art Nova» sector, where 22 galleries from 12 countries received a chance to show the latest works by two to four of their artists at reduced rates, was a magnet for visitors and the media alike.
The special sectors that attracted the greatest attention at the art show were the «Art Positions» container village on beautiful South Beach, sponsored by Terra International Developers, and the architecturally futuristic «Art Video Lounge,» sponsored by Artécity, at the Miami Beach Public Library. In «Art Positions,» 20 young galleries from eight countries benefited from the more economical rates to show their cutting-edge programs. The international audience gathered there for a Happy Hour on the beach every evening, enjoying the sunset to the accompaniment of hot rhythms and cold drinks. The highlight of the opening night of «Art Positions» was an electrifying performance by Britain’s «Scissor Sisters.» The program of the latest video works by artists from around the globe, curated by Sandra Antelo-Suarez (TRANS>, New York) and Guillermo Santamarina (curator, Mexico City), sponsored by Artécity, attracted an interested audience.
«Art Statements» – 15 one-person shows of young artists from seven countries at the Miami Beach Convention Center –proved a further notable crowd puller. The participants were very pleased with the popularity of this platform, which not only rewarded them with good sales but also brought them contacts with a great many curators and aroused considerable media interest.
Individual visitors and families alike made substantial use of the daily guided tours in English and Spanish and of the «Art Kids» kindergarten, both organized in collaboration with the art magazine Art Nexus.
The public’s appetite for contemporary art appears to be stronger than ever. According to surveys by the Show Management, all the exhibiting galleries succeeded in finding interested purchasers for their works. The majority of participants spoke of good to excellent sales results. Pieces in all price categories were purchased, from works by young artists costing less than US $5,000 to museum-quality masterpieces with price tags in the millions. It is gratifying that works by young, sometimes still unknown, artists also sold excellently. The international art market is strongly supported by private collectors, while most public institutions still have access to limited funds. The number of private and public museums worldwide is growing. According to statements by many galleries at Art Basel Miami Beach, there is fortunately no lack of young collectors. Society’s interest in contemporary art and its pacesetters has risen sharply over the past few years.