Artscope Magazine’s presence at Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 is not the only enterprise growing there this year. Our growth to a booth in the magazine sector mimics that of the international art fair itself. Its latest addition is Meridians, the new sector located in the Grand Ballroom of the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel Miami Beach’s home. With 33 monumental works inside and one outside, Meridians was created to house large-scale installations that Art Basel’s website admits, “can only fit in a museum or art warehouse.” Having reported for Artscope on Art Basels in Miami Beach and Switzerland for the past three years, on the last two Venice Biennales and the Cleveland Biennale, I agree that most collectors do not have room for these large works, so they must go to museums or art warehouses awaiting new owners, governmental or private.
Because art collectors and museum representatives see large-scale work at the Venice Biennale and then go on to purchase smaller work at Art Basel by the artist who made the work, Art Basel loses out to direct purchasers of the larger installation work. This latest addition remedies that situation. Now, museums and those who can install large work have the option of purchasing the work directly from Art Basel. Displaying installations for sale distinguishes this art fair from the over 200 worldwide art fairs that have taken place so far in 2019.
The gaga factor of this large work to be exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach 2019, the name factor associated with the work, and the social-justice and environment nature of the work’s subjects, including Woody De Othello’s giant bronze fan and tree, sponsored by Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco, clearly is addressing the topic of climate change; Candice Lin’s installation of historical materials addressing global history of exploitation and colonialism and Pepe Mar’s 36+ foot long homage to drag queen Varla, including two large paintings and collages, all address political issues, attracting large-pocketed museums and their curators, as well as donors who might want to become known as do-gooders, who attend Art Basel Miami Beach.
Adding to the similarity of “Meridians” with the Biennales, Art Basel has put a global spin on its PR for the upcoming fair, inviting six new galleries for the Galleries sector, including Asia’s Takaishii, and 14 new booths in its Positions sector with a significant amount from outside the Americas. With even more international galleries at the Nova sector, with works by Amoako Baofo at Marianne Ibraham, and Tomm El-Saieh at Central Fine, there is a clear focus on bringing in new galleries that exhibit important international work.
In contrast, and creating a confusing situation, Art Basel Miami Beach’s promotional literature notes its connection to North and South America, writing that of the 269 international galleries in the Galleries sector, more than half are from North and South America. Perhaps Art Basel Miami Beach is intent on attracting buyers from the entire world but wants to make sure North and South American collectors feel included.
As Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 might just prove, maybe you can have it all. Follow Artscope Online’s reporting from the Miami Art Fairs beginning on December 4 at artscopemagazine.com as well as our live feed on Instagram.
(Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 takes place from December 5 through 8 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, Florida. For more information, visit artbasel.com.)