The Art Basel Miami Beach fair opened its 16th edition with strong sales, improved design

The reconstruction of the Miami Beach Convention Center is months away from completion and Hurricane Irma is a new bite in Miami. None of that prevented the powerful Art Basel Miami Beach fair from opening its 16th edition on Wednesday to the usual multitude of rafters VIPs in a larger and reconfigured format, a much improved platform for the country's largest visual arts bazaar.

From the initial bell of 11 a. M. – Actually, there is no bell, but given the fuss over the door there should be one – the galleries were registering strong sales amidst a festive atmosphere for global collectors eager to catch that singular work of art before anyone else.

The fair, which last year attracted some 77,000 people, opens to the public on Thursday at 3 p.m. m. and it extends until Sunday.

At 10 minutes of opening day, Miami Beach gallery owner David Castillo sold a $ 110,000 sublimation work by Lyle Ashton Harris to a Michigan collector who plans to donate it to a museum, he said. Castillo's stand, in the Nova sector dedicated to new works, also received a lot of attention due to the intentionally foolish collages of Kalup Linzy, who creates his pieces during live performances as a transvestite artist called Katonya.

Katonya, whose works go for a Basel offer of $ 2,500 each, will be presented in her "studio" on the stand, a bed and a table arranged with wigs and artistic materials, every day during the fair at 3 pm

"This guy is amazing!" A woman yelled at a friend as she studied Linzy's collages on the wall.


Fusun Eczacibasi, left, touches the stand of the Nicolai Wallner gallery, from Copenhagen, with the artistic agent Gitte Sjkodt Madsen, on the right, during the first VIP event at Art Basel Miami Beach.

CARL JUSTE [email protected]

Not long after Castillo made his big sale, New York Paula Cooper Gallery sold a piece of great success for conc The minimalist and eclectic artist Sol Lewitt visited a museum Private for a price that the gallery did not specify but said it was between $ 1 million and $ 1.5 million. The work, which occupied the entirety of a long wall, consists of 100 color variations framed separately from a geometric shape on paper. Gallery owner Jay Gorney said he could not identify the buyer for reasons of confidentiality, but called the piece "extraordinary."

The rest of Cooper's stand was filled with what Marc Spiegler, executive director of Art Basel, called "archetypal" works of several influential American artists of the late twentieth century, including a composition of red sandstone bricks from the minimalist Carl Andre and a miniature sculpture by Mark di Suvero.

Cooper was just one of many galleries that brought serious and expensive art by modern and contemporary heavyweights. There were also many young artists and new works on display, and some live performances that attracted the curious.

At the joségarcía stand in Mexico, a visitor to the fair received a professional mbadage as part of a work by the artist Christian Jankowsky. The piece also incorporated a video of a Japanese mbadeuse trying to mbadage an outdoor sculpture by Henry Moore. At the Fergus McCaffrey stand, artist Mairead Delaney was literally creating art on the ground, molding concrete around the contours of her own body.

Even with an energetic handling and direction, the sensation of the first day of the fair was composed, probably a result of the new design of the fair. It has brought wider aisles, larger cabins and easier circulation, with two expansive plaza-like spaces near the center.

"It's a fantastic year," said Alex Gartenfeld, deputy director and chief curator of the recently opened Institute of Contemporary Art. , Miami. "The galleries brought great quality work, and somehow it feels a little calmer this year"


Alcija Kwade & # 39; s "Revolution" is the centerpiece in one of the new spaces open at Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

CARL JUSTE [email protected]

Permanent changes to the floor were possible thanks to the ongoing renovation of the convention center, which created confusion outside the center, but should end well in "The new space offers more space to see art, and also for the most important conversations between gallerists, collectors and curators, "said Spiegler.

"The new design of the city of Basel," said beach city manager Jimmy Morales. it makes it simply cheerful, "said Miami's leading art collector and sponsor, Dennis Scholl." We all love it "

Still, navigating the fair requires a firm grip on the floor map, entrances, lounges, and gallery locations are changed from previous editions.

" Very spacious " said Miami collector Peter Menendez, "But I feel a little lost."

Even a slightly confusing walk through the fair put viewers face to face with some unusually rich showcases.The Hammer Gallery in New York hung numerous works by Picbado and Matisse and the Impressionists Bonnard and Renoir In view of Edward Tyler Nahem of New York there were many masters of the mid and late twentieth century who filled a small museum: De Kooning, Rauschenberg, Basquiat, Pollock, Richter and Lam, among others.

There was also greater recognition for important artists whose importance could have been eclipsed previously, such as Sam Gilliam, 84, whose abstract painting of "field of color" in the gallery Ria Mnuchin of New York wore a red dot sticker, which meant that it was sold, at first.

At Hauser & Wirth, the first hours brought several important sales, said co-owner Iwan Wirth, including the works of Mark Bradford, the artist from Los Angeles whose work filled the US pavilion. UU In the Venice Biennial this year; a work recently discovered by Piero Manzoni, and a piece by Bruce Naumann. A three-ton sculpture of the late Eduardo Chillida with a price of $ 5.5 million was in reserve.

"This is the strongest fair we've had," said Wirth. "We have brought less works but with greater value, and it has been worth it, this fair has really matured."


Rita Targul, director of the STPI Gallery of Singapore, left, and Mary Leadbetter, a former resident of Singapore, chat in front of a Tobias Rehberger's work during the first VIP event at the Art Basel fair in Miami Beach on Wednesday.

CARL JUSTE [email protected]

For the main sponsor of the UBS show, entrance to the fair and its exclusive lounge for clients were a hot ticket "like the Super Bowl", said John Mathews, head of the bank's private wealth division. This year, the firm had the most requests from customers who want to attend the fair, he said.

There is also the work of many newcomers on the rise, and some have political dimensions. Many of the works mix materials that make even three-dimensional works hung. Mexican artist Tania Candiani, "Obreros 2003", shown at the Vermelho gallery, wears the paper hats that restaurant workers use to create a poncho – a reference to the prevalence of Hispanics in the smaller roles of restaurants.

The spines of Acacia are mixed in a work by Guiseppe Penone in Konrad Fischer Galerie. Michell-Inness & Nash showed a fabric made with black leather belts by Monica Bonvicini. In neugerriemschneider, spectators crowded around a series of candelabra of 181 Olafur Elibadon glbad spheres with a price of $ 530,000 that, at noon, was already on hold.

No fair is complete without an extravagant work by British artist Damien Hirst. The highlight of this year is "Sacred Heart of Hope," a sculpture in a transparent case that incorporates a dagger through a fleshy heart (actually the heart of a bull) flanked by white pigeon wings, shown in White Cube.

The sixteenth edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach,, opens to the public at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 7, and will last until Sunday. One-day tickets cost $ 50 online, $ 60 at the door, $ 36 for college students and adults over 62. Group tickets require early registration; Tickets are offered for the show.

Ongoing renovations at the convention center mean big changes. Only those with VIP cards may enter through the west side of the Convention Center; everyone else will need to enter on the east side along Washington Avenue. Avoid driving or dropping on Washington Avenue between Dade Boulevard and 17th Street; Much of that is blocked. Valet is at the Filmore Center on the corner of Washington and 17th Street.

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