Miami Opens Its Doors to International Art World
Rogers, Ann Gurley, Art Business News
MIAMI -- The successes of Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Miami and the hotel show -scope Miami this past winter have given Miami bragging rights as the New York art scene's southern subsidiary.
Greater Miami has an attractive and vibrant arts scene that adds luster to international art fairs; and the commitment these events have made to the city have had an impact on the quality of life here.
Art Basel Miami Beach opened the art season on Dec. 4, 2003, and ran through Dec. 7. This international art show is a sister to Art Basel, which was founded 34 years ago in Basel, Switzerland. Both are sponsored by UBS, a global financial institution with a long history of being involved in the arts.
Art Basel Miami Beach, now in its second year, attracted 175 leading galleries from the world's most important art centers and 30,000 visitors, including art dealers, curators, collectors and aficionados. The organizers of Art Basel Miami Beach, which was held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, said the majority of participants reported good to excellent sales, ranging from less than $5,000 for pieces by emerging artists to millions for museum-quality masterpieces.
In addition to the standard exhibition spaces, there were two sections established to lure young galleries to exhibit at the show at reduced rates: "Art Statement" and "Art Nova." Also, "Art Positions," a satellite exhibit on the beach, attracted 20 young galleries at a more affordable rate. These galleries exhibited in renovated shipping containers grouped together in a village-like atmosphere. Collins Park was the location for "Art Video Lounge," a venue for works on video.
The real genius of Art Basel Miami Beach was how it embraced Miami's local art scene. Greater Miami is home to 10 significant art collections, including the Margulies Collection of 20th- and 21st-century photography, video, sculpture and installation pieces. Also, the areas seven major art muse urns and their exhibitions were billed by Art Basel Miami Beach organizers as an integral part of the weekend. Denise Gerson, associate director of the Lowe Art Museum, reported that attendance at the Lowe was up during Art Basel Miami; but "the greatest benefit was the raised level of consciousness about Miami's diverse museum community," she said.
Piggy-backing on the Art Basel Miami Beach weekend was -scope Miami held at the Townhouse Hotel. The organizers of--scope host art shows in hip hotels ha major cities alongside international art fairs. As required by the organizers, each of the 55 galleries selected to exhibit devoted 80 percent of its space to one artist. Michael Sellinger, head of public relations for -scope, explained that this was the best formula to create a meaningful dialogue between the artist and collector. Terry Rodgers, an artist who was featured at Curcio Projects (and whose work sold out at the show) said, "-scope provided a wonderful intimacy that allowed for dealers, collectors and artists to be in a small space and talk. Also, the Miami location and the strength of these art fairs create an art nexus that includes not only the East and West Coast of the United States, but also Europe and South America." The organizers of -scope reported an attendance of 6,000 people and sales approaching $1.5 million.
Leslie Hammond, curator at the Appleton Museum in Ocala, Fla., came to Miami for the second year to attend both Art Basel Miami and -scope. "I came to learn what is new and hot, to add to my visual memory, to network, and to plan for the possibility of taking [my] local collectors next year to aid in donor cultivation. I found both Art Basel Miami Beach and -scope useful," said Hammond. …