From 1 to 4 December 2015, Florida hosted the famous Art Basel Miami Beach, the US division of Art Basel, launched in 2002. This edition, which brought together 267 galleries, was accompanied by 19 satellite fairs around Miami, including Art Miami (1 to 6 December), Aqua Art Miami, Design Miami and ArtSpot Miami (from 2 to 6 December).
Many millionaire sales
For most influential galleries in the world, this edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was the opportunity to make some great sales, including many beyond the million dollar mark. Records totaled $ 15 million for Man in Blue VI (1954) by Francis Bacon and $ 10 million for Buste au Chapeau (1971) by Picasso, at Van de Weghe Fine Art. Among the most important sales, Hauser & Wirth sold Snow White, Dopey, Black Red White Black (2011-2015) by Paul McCarthy for $ 1.5 million and David Zwirner saw Lösung (2005) by Neo Rauch also bought for $ 1.5 million, infront of Untitled (Blot) (2015) by Kerry James Marshall, which reached $ 850,000. For his part, Thaddaeus Ropac sold the painting Joseph Beuys (1980) by Andy Warhol for $1.4 million and the sculpture Appalachian Double Latch Spring Glut (1989) by Robert Rauschenberg, for $ 770,000. Other leading sales, the painting Ohne Titel (Untitled) (1962) by Günther Uecker went for $1 million on the stand of the Skarstedt Gallery (New York).
Moreover, the Alison Jacques Gallery (London) sold a work on paper from 1955 by Lygia Clark for $600,000, whereas at Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London), Gigantaur (2015) by George Condo also achieved this award and SH IV (2014) by Andreas Gursky made $400,000. Among other successful sales, Galerie Gmurzynska (Cologne) sold a Wifredo Lam for $ 500,000, the Thomas Dane Gallery sold Untitled (2014) by Kelley Walker for $ 400,000, the same selling price as Vortice–Trittico (Vortex-triptyque ) (2014) by Michelangelo Pistoletto, at the Galleria Continua. Galerie Max Hetzler also saw Untitled (Baum 34) (2015) by Albert Oehlen departing for $ 375,000.
Despite these successful sales, they would have been slower to do than in previous years, during which some stands were liquidated from the opening day. As a general observation, the public rush less on the works, like at auctions in recent months, partly because of the abundant artistic production. Matthias Rastorfer, the director and co-owner of the Galerie Gmurzynska, sees this phenomenon with optimism: “We are growing at a time where people are more critical. If they do not distinguish between what is of historical value and what does not, I do not mark-down.”
For the first six days of December, Art Basel Miami Beach and its 19 satellite fairs transformed the city with more than 5.5 million people in the brief epicentre of the art world. Numerous exhibitions, screenings, installations, parties and other events in museums, public spaces, galleries, hotels, private collections and other spaces created this hyper-event. The premiere of Art Basel Miami Beach also hosted otherwise VIPs of the caliber of Leonardo DiCaprio, Sylvester Stallone and Lenny Kravitz.
The Public section had 27 large-scale installations with works by Katharina Grosse, Sterling Ruby and Olaf Breuning at Collins Park. In the film program at Art Basel Miami Beach, curated by Marian Masone, the pivotal work was Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art by James Crump, a documentary about land art, among films the Peggy Guggenheim movie: Art Addict, directed by Lisa Immordino-Vreeland. Apart from this program, the Galerie Perrotin projected Ellis, the 14 minute film of the famous French street artist JR, with Robert De Niro
Among other satellite events, artist Ryan McNamara conducted a performance combining sculpture, choreography and music with the musician Devonté Hynes at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. In addition, the ICA Miami hosted Artist Theater Program, the series of performances of artists Erika Vogt, Shannon Ebner and Dylan Mira, in partnership with Performa 15. The Caribbean and South American artists were especially honored. The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection offered a solo exhibition of Cuban artist Gustavo Pérez Monzón. For its part, the Rose and Carlos de la Cruz Collection organized the exhibition “You’ve Got to Know the Rules … to Break Them” with Caribbean artists Felix González-Torres and Allora & Calzadilla. The Brazilian duo assume vivid astro focus offered a participating installation Roller Disco in which the public is invited to rollerblading in the installation.
The time of this hyper-event, Uber specially launched its UberBOAT service to allow users to avoid the significant car traffic increased by the presence of 20 fairs in the city of Miami. The crossing Biscayne Bay costs $ 35. UberBOAT was, however, only offered during this hard period.
In the midst of so much splendour, the Nova section of Art Basel Miami Beach was the scene of a violent incident but no unfortunate outcome. On the night of 4 December, a visitor was stabbed by another, with a cutter type X-Acto. Wounded in the neck and the arms, the victim was rushed to hospital but his prognosis did not engage. She said she was followed by her attacker who stabbed her when she asked him to stop. The assailant, Siyuan Zhao was arrested and accused of attempted homicide.
With the exception of this incident, the great week of art in Miami seemed to have run very well. The public is evolving in consumer habits and its requirements but Miami was not least a major foreground trading hub for the global art market during these six intense days.