It’s public day two at Art Basel Miami Beach and in spite of the nightlife that ended a few hours ago, people are out en masse. Gridlocked traffic just blocks away from the entrance to the art fair promises that the second day will be busier than ever.
These giant crowds mean one thing for the city of Miami, money.
Tickets to Art Basel range from a $29 for a one-day evening only pass to a $90 all-access ticket for the entire public event. The sale of tickets along with hospitality for the estimated 50,000 visitors is projected to bring in over $500 million to the greater Miami area.
Inside day two of Art Basel promised much more work to be sold. Damien Hirst’s new work “Capaneus” reportedly sold for $962,000 at the White Cube gallery.
When inquiring about the price point of work many potential buyers were met with the same answer, “We’re sorry but that piece has been sold already.” Reminding fair goers that time was working against them.
There were only 257 galleries chosen from the 680 that applied for a space at Art Basel. These elite galleries displayed the best of the best work in the art world. So naturally the price tags were on the expensive side.
The sales people were less than enthusiastic to speak to me at length about the artists they represent on day two of the fair. Not because they weren’t knowledgeable, they just had a tendency to lose focus when a well-dressed potential buyer wandered through their gallery. So I’d smile and move onto the next work of art.
One of the works that particularly caught my eye was a giant bronze Teddy Bear sculpture by Korean appropriation artist Gimhongsok. In “Bearlike Construction” Gimhongsok is rumored to be reminiscent of the monumental “Lamp/Bear” sculpture by Urs Fischer. The sculpture appeared to be trash bags, and made me question what I had abandoned along with my childhood playthings.
With only 20 individual artists given solo exhibition, the Art Kabinett element of the fair showcased the recent installation work of performance art matriarch Marina Abramovic. Italian gallery Lia Rumma featured sculpture and video from Abromovic’s “With eyes closed I see Happiness” installation as well as a chair sculpture from her “for Human Use” series.
In the central area of the convention center, Art Basel has set up a pair of small cafes, a group of benches and five video pods. The pods feature a continuous loop of videos from themes such as music, magic and melancholia. One video featured the talents of lauded photographer Ryan McGinley and the music of Sigur Ros. The beautiful video features a woman with yellow hair skipping through the streets of a city leaving a trail of sparkles and frozen life around her.
Represented by Team Gallery in New York, McGinley showed two over-sized nude photos at this year. When asked about how the sale of his current work was affecting his earlier works, his valuations Team was optimistic saying, “The prices on his large works were way up and the small works were rising.”
Day two revealed more to the public than the previous days with more people attending and much more art being sold. As art was sold more art took its place just as day one closed a success, day two closed an even greater success.