Last week, art fairs across Miami—from exhibition halls and Art Deco hotels in South Beach to expansive white tents in the city’s Wynwood Design District—saw very high levels of attendance and sales. The organizers of the anchor fair, Art Basel in Miami Beach, reported a seven-percent uptick in attendance, for a total of 75,000 visitors over five days, while satellite fairs also appeared to thrive.
At the big fair, New York's Sean Kelly Gallery sold out its entire booth, including works by Callum Innes, Mariko Mori, and Marina Abramovic. Kelly, who has participated in the fair since its inception in 2002, said that “without any exception this is the most successful of all its editions in terms of quality, conversations, volume of visitors and new audiences — I wish we had brought more inventory.”
Chicago and Berlin dealer Kavi Gupta scored at Art Basel in Miami Beach with works by Tony Tasset, whose inclusion in next year's Whitney Biennial was recently announced. Gupta sold two versions of the artist’s “Snowman” sculptures, made of glass, resin, and enamel paint, with bronze “sticks” for arms, at $75,000 each; and two versions of Tasset’s “Bear” for $65,000 each. Gupta also reported selling Roxy Paine’s “Labor Saving Device” to the Brooklyn Museum on the fair’s opening night, for $85,000. And he sold “almost all" of artist Theaster Gates’s "difficult but important Documenta installation pieces,” at prices that he stated ranged from $50,000 to $175,000.
“It was an incredibly successful fair, to say the least,” Gupta said. “Our program has artists that are not as commonly known — the work tends to be difficult and has narrative — but we were able to spend time with collectors and most turned out to be extremely knowledgeable.”
Major sales that occurred early in the Art Basel run included a Jeff Koons, bought sight unseen from David Zwirner, for $8 million (it was in the artist's studio and not included in the booth). Powerhouse gallery Pace reported selling a large 1962 sculpture by Alexander Calder, “Untitled,” for more than $1 million, following “a high level of interest from four different buyers,” according to a gallery spokesperson. Pace also sold a painting by Adolph Gottlieb, “White Halo-Black Ground” (1967), for $400,000.
Mathias Rastorfer, co-owner of Swiss gallery Gmurzynska, called Art Basel in Miami Beach “a very successful fair,” and said the gallery “was consistently busy with sales. We sold important works by Scott Campbell, Wifredo Lam, Richard Meier, Enrico Castellani, Adolf Luther, and Tom Wesselmann. The price range of the sales were between $50,000 to $1 million.”
And Marcio Botner, of Brazilian gallery A Gentil Carioca, called it “the strongest edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach in years,” and noted that there were “several new collectors from Asia due to Art Basel's new presence in Hong Kong.”
The satellite fairs, too, were hopping. Nick Korniloff, partner and director of Art Miami LLC — which owns the Art Miami, Context, and (as of last year) Aqua Art Miami fairs — said that many seven- and mid-to-high six-figure sales were achieved at Art Miami, with an overall volume of sales that seemed to be double that of last year. Top sales at that fair included a Gerhard Richter painting that sold for $3 million at Munich’s Galerie Terminus; a sculpture by Henry Moore sold by Scott White Contemporary Art of La Jolla for $1 million; and a Lucio Fontana painting at Galerie von Vertes, Zurich, that sold for more than $1 million. Dealers from both Art Miami and Context, Korniloff added, “are still reporting sales after the fair.”
At the beachfront tent of the Untitled Art Fair, now in its second year, “the most noteworthy thing was how many A-list collectors showed up for the preview, as opposed to last year — as if word got out,” said art dealer and blogger Edward Winkleman, a first-time exhibitor at Untitled. Winkleman’s sales included three 2013 “Binocular” videos by Leslie Thornton, priced at $8,000 each, which went to Louisville collectors Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. Winkleman also sold a dozen small 3D-printed pieces by Shane Hope, including “Freerange-Femtofacture-Lure no 11,” priced at $850 each. “We will definitely consider it again,” said Winkleman of the fair.
Royale Projects of Palm Desert, California did well with luminous wall hangings by Phillip K. Smith III, selling all of an edition of three for $27,000 each. “The fair was a huge success and we were thrilled to return with the booth completely sold out,” said owner Rick Royale.
Aqua Art Miami, held at the eponymous hotel on Collins Avenue in South Beach, presented a lively roster of galleries from less art-centric cities like Saint Louis, Cleveland, and Santa Rosa. William Baczek, owner of William Baczek Fine Arts of Northampton, MA, said this was his sixth year at the event. In addition to selling a dozen paintings and drawings by Travis Louie, the gallery sold four paintings by Margaret Withers to a Swiss collector; and placed works by sculptor Anne Lilly, whose work is currently featured at an exhibition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology entitled “5,000 Moving Parts.” Baczek told ARTINFO: “Aqua did an excellent job in bringing in the collectors this year and I anticipate that to grow exponentially as news of the quality and variety of the fair spreads.”
The ninth edition of the Pulse contemporary art fair, held in the Design District in Wynwood, welcomed more than 3,000 visitors on its opening night on Thursday, with many dealers reporting strong sales within the first few hours of the fair. First-time exhibitor MA2 Gallery, Tokyo, sold out of video works by Ken Matsubara. Hosfelt Gallery of San Francisco sold a six-figure “Basketball Drawing” by David Hammons. London’s New Art Projects sold a four-minute video piece, “Love Story,” to the Cisneros Foundation, the first piece of an edition of five (prices ranged from $6,000 to $12,000). And New York’s Bryce Wolkowitz sold out of Yorgo Alexopoulos’s “Crossing Over,” an edition of eight digital animation pieces for $11,000 each.
http://www.blouinartinfo.com/photo-galleries/slideshow-sales-at-miami-art-week-2013To see images, click on the slideshow.