Art Basel Miami Beach Turns Ten
By Sue Hostetler
|TOP: An image from the film H.I.L.M.D.A. by Jillian Mayer, an artist exhibited by the Scholls during ABMB 2011. BOTTOM: The Scholls|
Art Basel Miami Beach has become the most important event in the US for the contemporary art world. To what do you attribute this success?
ANNETTE SCHÖNHOLZER: There are many reasons, although the foundation of the success has been the galleries that return every year and bring fantastic pieces. Many also mount carefully curated exhibitions for Art Kabinett in their booths, and participate in additional sectors such as Art Public outdoors. The programming of Art Basel Conversations and the Art Film night also make the week rich in content and ideas. Equally important are the city of Miami Beach—which has always been supportive—and Miami’s private collections and remarkable museums, which enrich the experience by staging superb exhibitions every December. Seeing the cultural scene blossom in the Miami area over the last decade has been really rewarding, and we’re proud to have been part of that renaissance.
Has the quality or makeup of the dealer applicant pool changed considerably over the years?
MARC SPIEGLER: We had very high application numbers and a high reapplication rate again this year. For European galleries, it is now the “must“ show to do in America, and we have seen better and more Latin American galleries applying every year as the art scenes surged in places such as São Paulo, Mexico City, and Bogotá. It’s always a pleasure to see new dossiers coming in from places that used to be totally off the art world’s radar.
The worldwide economic crisis has caused attrition of galleries, smaller fairs, and the like, yet ABMB remains a dealer favorite and show-sale results remain strong. How have you maintained success?
MS: We mainly kept doing what we have always done, which is to build the best possible platform for our galleries. Obviously, we also work hard to make every edition of Art Basel Miami Beach exciting for exhibitors, museums, curators, and visitors, and of course to bring the most important collectors and museum groups to the show. A huge factor on that front is the ever-growing collector bases from Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Puerto Rico, who are all now regulars at Art Basel Miami Beach. During the most difficult year for the US economy—2009—those collectors greatly compensated for the Americans who had slowed down their collecting.
What is the best way for attendees to tackle the immense number of offerings at ABMB?
AS: Download the [Art Basel Miami Beach iPhone] app, get a show guide, orient yourself, make a plan, and start to walk the halls. Be sure to visit the Art Galleries sector for top-level modern and contemporary art, along with Art Nova for two or three artists showing new work, and Art Positions, which features 16 major solo projects by emerging artists. Then leave the halls to go to Art Public—newly focused within the Collins Park area—and watch the Art Video program on the New World Center projection wall.
photographs courtesy of MCH Swiss exhibition [basel] ltd. (schönholzer); david castillo gallery/david tamargo (mayer); the collection of debra and dennis scholl (strange)
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