Art Basel Miami Beach opens today.
But as any art aficionado can tell you, business-wise it’s kind of already over. That’s because the biggest sales always happen during the VIP days (that was Tuesday and Wednesday this year), before the fairs are open to the public.
And early indicators suggest it’s been a success—maybe not a 2019-level success, but healthy and active, with buyers acting on their pent-up desires after Art Week was a no-go in 2020 due to the pandemic. A Picasso went for $20 million at the main fair. A Banksy commanded $4 million at Art Miami. Gagosian has already placed at least $10 million in sales. Pace Gallery sold $6 million worth of art in six hours, including a Jeff Koons painting for around $1 million. Each of those revered New York-based galleries sold around 30 pieces to reach those impressive sales numbers. “It feels good,” Larry Gagosian told Artnet News. “I like to see friends coming by. And we are doing business.”
You know things are returning to normal when art advisers are remarking that the best pieces are already gone, and there was plenty of that going around on by Wednesday. So don’t expect Leonardo DiCaprio, Ricky Martin or Adam Levine to be walking the floors of the Miami Convention for the next few days. They’ve come and gone—a good sign for the durability of one of the world’s most famous and lucrative art events.
Photo: Frank Stella’s Gray Scramble, an acrylic on canvas, at Art Basel Miami Beach