There are certain economic indicators that show an economy is optimistic and one of those is the art market. The 2009 Art Basel held in Miami Dec. 3-5 did not disappoint. Attended by many local artists, art collectors and people who want to see an eclectic mix of wonderful art, Miami is easily accessible to local residents.
Modeled after Art Basel-Switzerland, the most prestigious art show in the world, Miami hosted Art Basel-Miami for U. S. and world art aficionados for the eighth year, showcasing more than 250 of the top galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. These galleries show works of more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, from easily recognizable names such as Picasso to emerging artists considered to be the Picassos of the next generation.
The mood was very encouraging with many gallery owners saying that this year's sales at Art Basel are very exciting and a sign that the lagging art market is going to pick up. This was also reflected at Art Basel in Switzerland earlier this year. The general consensus of the gallery owners was that more people were looking seriously, and buying, than in the past few years, and although they may take a little longer to make up their minds, they are making purchases. It was also expressed that Art Basel is a wonderful showcase for serious art collectors and people who want to learn more about art in a non-threatening environment. The gallery owners were very happy to share information about the artists' work and made it a wonderful experience for new and experienced art show attendees.
This untitled mixed media on paper by Sigmar Polke measured 122-3/4 x 154-1/2 inches (Werner Gallery) sold for $1.4 million the first day of the show.
Carol Orr Hartman
The majority of the gallery owners said that they had done very well, much better than last year in sales, many ranging in the $400,000 range up to $2 million. While gallery owners who specialized in photography said that the photography market hasn't slowed down significantly through the slow art period, other gallery owners said that two-dimensional works of art did better than one-dimensional pieces.
Darryl Pottorf and the late Robert Rauschenberg, artists that Lee County loves to call our own, gave credibility and presence at Art Basel to Lee County. Howard Greenberg, owner of Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, spoke poignantly about his friend, the late Robert Rauschenberg, remembering visiting him in his trailer on Captiva in 1972.
Greenberg represents some of the most preeminent photographers in the world and is considered a fundamental force in establishing the market for classic photography.
Art Basel is always an interesting place to get to see art up close by artists many of us have learned about in school, right next to unique pieces by emerging artists that make one wonder how an artist came up with such a unique idea.