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Miami Art fair

[11/12/2012]

Miami Art fair  

Every year – for any self-respecting art lover – the beginning of December is synonymous with Art Basel Miami Beach.With its constellation of satellite fairs (about seventeen this year) and the sun & sea factor as an additional bonus, it is THE essential event on the global art calendar after the autumn fairs in London and Paris (Frieze and FIAC) and before Singapore’s Art Stage and New York’s Armory Show.
Some argue that Miami’s excessively festive atmosphere with its mix of jet-set, dance floors and reclining beach chairs may put off true art lovers. However, Miami undoubtedly unites all the essential ingredients of a can’t miss art fair and, this year, it attracted 50,000 visitors. We take a look at some of the highlight and trends at this eleventh edition that hosted approximately 267 international galleries from 31 different countries.

Apart from the usual major galleries purveying works by Jeff KOONS, Gerhard RICHTER, Anish KAPOOR and Richard PRINCE, a number of the fair’s galleries focused on young and ascending signatures.At the Gavin Brown gallery, Alex KATZ (born 1927) was surrounded by the English artist Martin CREED and the American Jonathan HOROWITZ who both signed new auction records in 2012: the first with a result of $130,000 for his Installation Work No. 204: Half the air in a given space at Christie’s New York on 7 March 2012, and the second with Coke/Pepsi (230 Cans) at Sotheby’s London on 13 October 2012.
After signing a new record of $400,000 for Death Comes to Us All in May 2012 at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York, it would have been difficult to imagine New York’s Petzel Gallery without a work by Dana SCHUTZ. Perfectly mastering cubist compositions resembling the great Pablo Picasso himself, the artist adds a personal touch by the clever use of a multitude of fluorescent colors. Clearly promoting artists with recent new records, the Petzel Gallery also offered works by Seth PRICE whose Untitled fetched triple its high estimate at Sotheby’s New York ($130,000) on 10 May 2012.
The American artist Pae WHITE, known for her poetic creations on the porous borders between art and design, excited visitors with a monumental tapestry made up of bric-a-brac at the Neugerriem Schneider Gallery. Despite only 13 auction results in six years, her works were also exhibited at Kaufmann Repetto. Her mobiles generate her best results: Fish to snake…a dirty joke (you don’t need to know) sold for $15,000 in November 2006 at Phillips de Pury New York & Company.

A strong South American presence

Miami’s perfect location at the centre of the American continents makes it a key place for American collectors and fans of the booming Latin American market. Many collectors from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Venezuela have second homes in Miami and they account for a significant proportion of the fair’s volume of transactions. The fair hosted no less than 14 Brazilian galleries (Gentil Carioca A, Luciana Brito, Casa Triângulo, Fortes Vilaça, Leme …), 2 Colombian galleries (Casas Riegner and The Central), 4 Mexican galleries (Kurimanzutto, Labor, Proyetos Monclova and OMR), 3 Argentine galleries (Ruth Benzacar, Ignacio and Jorge Liprandi Mara), 1 Uruguayan (Galería Sur) and a newcomer, the Peruvian Revolver gallery.
Among the artists presented, the Acquavella gallery offered paintings by an Argentine artist who clearly has the wind in his sails: Enoc PEREZ has recorded six of his seven best auction results in 2012, including one of $310,000 for Havana Riviera Hotel, La Havana, Cuba at Sotheby’s New York on 10 May. Meanwhile, Hauser & Wirth offered a very successful juxtaposition of canvases by the Argentine Guillermo David KUITCA and sculptures by the American Roni HORN. Kuitca also signed his best result of $250,000 for a work entitled Heaven at Sotheby’s New York on 10 May.

A strong Modern presence

Despite its reputation for promoting young talents, this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach was not immune to the virus of Modern art with a new selection of Modern art galleries added to a program that clearly sought to highlight inter-generational links. Indeed, last October the Frieze played a similar card: wishing to focus on the importance of the Modern signatures, it inaugurated a second fair, the Frieze Masters. While this emphasis on the recognized masterpieces of the Modern period sometimes makes the works presented by some galleries look overly tame and consensual, it does give visitors a unique opportunity to discover masterpieces that are unknown to the public. In short, this year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach had a substantially stronger Modern presence. Among them, Fernand LÉGER’s Les deux femmes à l’oiseau, presented at Galerie Thomas, was apparently snapped up very quickly for more than a million dollars. Mark ROTHKO, who recently (8 May 2012) allowed Christie’s New York to sign a record result of $77.5 million with his Orange,Red, Yellow, had an impressive presence with a huge canvas at Helly Nahmad Gallery. The Pace Gallery offered a small mobile by Alexander CALDER from 1947 while the Tornabuoni Gallery devoted its entire stand to works by Lucio FONTANA.

While market prudence was once again visible, it would appear that the eleventh edition of Art Basel Miami Beach maintained its sale momentum. With its strategic location and unparalleled excitement, Miami 2012 once again confirmed that it occupies a primary position on the international art calendar.

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