In a recent article published in The New York Times Carol Vogel says: “Between the sagging economy and the proliferation of competitors, the organisers of art fairs have to shake things up continually to make sure collectors keep coming back.”
When Art Basel Miami Beach opens in December visitors will find the main exhibition floor has been reorganised, giving dealers larger booths. Emerging artists who had previously occupied shipping containers along the waterfront, will move inside to the middle of the hall. The space formerly occupied by the containers will be used for a three-dimensional environment designed by artist Pae White, that will include piazzas and a performance platform, along with a series of scrims that change the appearance from day to night. Within this social space the fair will present panel discussions, concerts and performances.
Interestingly, fair co-director Marc Spiegler (shown above at Art Basel, Switzerland) came up with another reason for the changes – one that will register well with galleries. He says: “We're finding that a lot of galleries are doing fewer fairs, and those that are participating want better spaces.” Everybody knows fairs need great collectors, but they also need galleries willing and able to participate in fairs in boom and bust times. Positioning Art Basel Miami Beach as a gallery-responsive fair, tuned to troubled economic times, is a timely move on Spiegler's part.
You can read Carol Vogel's article on Art Basel Miami Beach in the New York Times.
Image: Marc Spiegler (righthand panel, centre), co-director, Art Basel.