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Art Basel Stages Highly Successful Return to Miami Beach

Reporter: Ekaterina Shevliakova

Art Basel’s first show in Miami Beach since the start of the pandemic closed on Saturday, December 4, 2021, amid reports of vigorous sales across all sectors of the market and throughout the duration of the show. The fair reinforced its position as a singular cultural event in the Americas, attracting major collectors and institutions from 72 countries across the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and beyond. The fair attracted an overall attendance of 60,000 throughout its VIP and public days. Following successful iterations in Hong Kong and Basel, 'Art Basel Live' amplified the show’s participating galleries to online audiences around the globe. The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, took place from December 2 to December 4, 2021 at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC).

Art Basel’s first in-person fair in the United States since 2019 – brought together 253 leading international galleries from 36 countries and territories, presenting the highest quality of artworks across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and digital works. Fourty-four galleries joined the fair for the first time this year, including: Central Galeria and Galeria Estação from São Paulo, Curro from Guadalajara, Galeria Patricia Ready from Vitacura, Proyectos Ultravioleta from Guatemala City, Wilding Cran Gallery from Los Angeles, Reyes Finn from Detroit, Daniel Faria Gallery from Toronto, and Gallery Hyundai from Seoul.

See Cultured Focus Video highlights below.

This year’s show was more diverse than ever before and welcomed four first-time participants from Africa, including Afriart Gallery from Kampala; First Floor Gallery Harare with spaces in Harare and Victoria Falls; SMAC Art Gallery with spaces in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Stellenbosch; and Rele Gallery with spaces in Lagos and Los Angeles. In recognition of the changing gallery landscape, this year Art Basel and its Selection Committee relaxed many of its exhibitor application requirements, including the minimum number of exhibitions a gallery must hold per year, the need to have a permanent space, and the number of years the gallery must have been in operation. The changes allowed the fair to welcome a broader range of first-time participants, including the newly-opened Nicola Vassell in New York and the roaming Kendra Jayne Patrick Gallery.

Collector attendance this year was similarly international as in years past, with leading private collectors and institutions from 72 countries across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East visiting the fair, as well as leading patrons and curators from over 170 museums and cultural organizations including: Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; ICA Boston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MOCA Los Angeles; MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico City; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham; New Museum, New York; Palais de Lomé; SAHA, Istanbul; Serpentine Galleries, London; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Americas Foundation, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

‘This show marks the first truly international art fair to take place in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic,’ says Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel. ‘It has been incredible to witness again the energy in the halls and the enormous pent-up demand for seeing, buying, and selling art in person. We featured a much more diverse range of voices than ever before, making this show particularly vibrant and rich in new discoveries.’

Following its success in Basel and Hong Kong, Art Basel Live amplified onsite presentations in Miami Beach, with a digital program comprising Online Viewing Rooms, virtual walkthroughs, livestreamed conversations, and social media broadcasts transmitting the vibrancy and excitement from the show floor to the broadest possible global audience.

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