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Art Basel Miami Makes Big Splash as Global Art Collectors Turned Out En Masse

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By:  Benyamin Davidsons

Art Basal Miami was thriving, back in action, after having skipped last year due to the pandemic.  Celebrities and crypto enthusiasts flocked to Art Basel Miami Beach for the country’s renowned contemporary art fair, which ran from Dec. 1st through the 4th.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the fair was very well attended by Americans, who had missed out on other Fall Art events in Europe, due COVID-related to travel concerns.  Besides for the regular millionaires, there were also cryptocurrency investors curious to check out art in real life.  There were also plenty of celebrities – from Alicia Keys and Adam Levine to Evan Spiegel and his supermodel wife Miranda Kerr.  Other stars spotted included Leonardo DiCaprio, Pharrell Williams, Sofia Vergara, Randy Gerber, and Channing Tatum. “The energy from American collectors is undeniable,” said art adviser Suzanne Modica.

The art festival was accompanied by parties on posh yachts, small elite gallery dinners and expansive beachfront events sponsored by auction houses and digital-art platforms. “There’s so much energy in Miami right now—I’m here for it,” said cryptocurrency investor Ryan, who paid Christie’s $29 million for a Beeple sculpture in November.

Despite threats about Omicron, the new Coronavirus variant, and renewed restraints for overseas travel, over 250 galleries signed up to sell at Basal Miami. Also, close to a dozen satellite fairs sprang up across the city.

The end-of-the- season main festival, was more than just rich people on vacation, walking their tiny pups along the aisles of the crowded festival, though.  Based on early sales estimates, the main show reported strong sales, dealers said.  As per the WSJ, notable offerings included:  a $50 million Mark Rothko abstract at Helly Nahmad Gallery’s booth; a $7.8 million untitled cartoonish scene by Keith Haring at Edward Tyler Nahem’s booth; and a $550,000 wall relief with attached nonfungible token by multimedia artists DRIFT at Pace’s mega gallery booth.

The show had big sales, even on the preview day.  During a private preview on Tuesday, Helly Nahmad’s gallery sold Pablo Picasso’s ”Mousquetaire et Femme a la Fleur” for roughly $20 million, Artsy reported.  Gladstone Gallery sold a Keith Haring piece for $1.8 million on Tuesday.  Then on opening day, “Charlie Brown”,  a work by British graffiti artist Banksy sold for $4 million at Jay Rutland’s Maddox Gallery booth.  As per the Post, Pace Gallery said it sold over 30 multiple works, each over $1 million on opening day. Hauser & Wirth gallery reported selling 18 artworks in the first few hours of the fair, with prices ranging from $250,000 to $1.2 million.




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