Art Basel Miami Sales Report 2015 The Winners And The Losers

Art Basel Miami

It has been another fabulous year for Art Basel Miami Beach with strong sales and a record number of visitors to the Miami Convention Centre event, as well as Untitled, Art Miami, NADA and Pulse.  The fairs which opened early in the week saw the opening party held outside the Bass Museum despite some rather unusual turns of events including a stabbing at the main fair, which resulted in a visitor being hospitalised.

Wednesday’s VIP preview saw Thomas Campbell, director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate trustee Richard Chang, megacollector Eli Broad, movie star collector Leonardo Di Caprio, baseballer Alex Rodriguez, and even Sylvester Stallone.

The 14th edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach closed with an enthusiastic reception from collectors, institutions, gallerists and critics from across the Americas and the world Pairing curated installations of Modern and contemporary work with stimulating programming, Art Basel’s 2015 edition featured strong sales across all levels of the market. Presenting 267 leading international galleries from 32 countries, the show attracted an attendance of 77,000 over five days, including major private collectors as well as directors, curators, trustees and patrons of nearly 200 museum and institution groups. Collectors from over 110 countries attended the show, with first- time collectors coming from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Romania, Togo and Zimbabwe. The show was spearheaded by Noah Horowitz, Art Basel’s newly appointed Director Americas.

Art Basel, once again confirmed its position as the premier art fair in the Americas, with over half of all exhibitors having gallery spaces in the region. Along with a robust roster of returning galleries – reflecting a 98 percent reapplication rate – 29 exhibitors participated in Miami Beach for the first time, including several young European galleries: Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), Galeria Plan B (Cluj, Berlin), Galerie Gregor Staiger (Zurich) and KOW (Berlin). Three galleries from Asia came to Miami Beach for the first time: Beijing Art Now Gallery (Beijing), Tokyo Gallery + BTAP (Tokyo, Beijing) and White Space Beijing (Beijing). New galleries from the United States included George Adams Gallery (New York), Castelli Gallery (New York), Essex Street (New York), François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles) and Jenkins Johnson Gallery (San Francisco, New York).

Museum attendees included curators, directors and patrons groups from important institutions from around the world, including Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago); Aspen Art Museum (Aspen); Burger Collection (Hong Kong); Brooklyn Museum (New York); Centre Pompidou (Paris); Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland); Carnegie Museum (Pittsburgh); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.); Institute of Contemporary Arts (London); KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin); La Maison Rouge – Fondation Antoine de Galbert (Paris); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles); Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires); Museo de Arte de Lima (Lima); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Los Angeles); Museu de Arte de São Paulo (São Paulo); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Chicago); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (Cleveland); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston); Museum of Modern Art (New York); MoMA PS1 (New York); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas); Palais de Tokyo (Paris); Philadelphia Art Museum (Philadelphia); The Power Plant (Toronto); Serpentine Galleries (London); Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); Tate (London); Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).

Prominent attendees included hedge fund managers Kenneth Griffin and James Chanos, billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and directors of top U.S. museums browsed the aisles at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show, which runs through Dec. 6, features 267 galleries and 4,000 artists, with works valued at $3 billion, according to insurer and fair sponsor Axa Art.

High profile sales included: Francis Bacon’s “Man in Blue VI” sold for $13.5 million at Van de Weghe Fine Art. The gallery also sold a Picasso painting that had an asking price of $10.5 million. Doug Aitken’s lightbox shaped as an airplane fetched $285,000. At David Zwirner’s booth, the focus was on figurative painting and the sweet spot for prices ranged from $500,000 to $1 million, the gallery owner said.

The gallery quickly sold a large painting by Kerry James Marshall for $850,000. Chris Ofili’s large new painting, recently on view at the Aspen Art Museum, went for $750,000. A painting by young Colombian artist Oscar Murillo featuring his signature doodles and a logo for coconut water Vita Coco fetched $300,000.

Either way, the midrange of sales—which by Art Basel standards is in the six figures—was on fire. Ropac further reported the $770,000 sale of Robert Rauschenberg’s Appalachian Double Latch Spring Glut (1989); the sale of two Georg Baselitz bronzes, Bündel (Bunch) (2015) from an edition of six for €750,000 apiece and Es ist kein Zimmer frei (2015) for €500,000; Robert Longo’s charcoal Untitled (Potemkin, Black Square)(2015) going for $450,000; and the sale of Alex Katz’s Four Trees 3(2015) for $400,000.

Following the Rauch, Zwirner reported the $850,000 sale of Kerry James Marshall’s Untitled (Blot) (2015), the sale of two works by Lisa Yuskavage—The Big Pileup (2015) for $800,000 and Sorbet Sky (2013) for $120,000—as well as Sherrie Levine’s 2015 bronze Beach Ball after Lichtenstein going for $450,000, and an untitled aluminum panel work by Isa Genzken from 2014 being acquired for $250,000. Perhaps the booth’s most significant work, Chris Ofili’s Poolside (Smoke Signals)(2014–2015) sold for $750,000. It was previously presented in the artist’s major, critically acclaimed retrospective “Night and Day,” organized by the New Museum, which traveled to the Aspen Art Museum this past summer.

London’s Thomas Dane fared well, in the initial two days selling an untitled Kelley Walker from 2014 for $400,000, Lynda Benglis’s COMANCHE (2013) for $65,000, two Hurvin Anderson drawings for just under $100,000 each, and a painting by Ella Kruglyanskaya. “It sold immediately,” said Dane of the hot Latvian figurative painter’s work. The dealer indicated that, for the most part, it was business as usual at Art Basel this year. “There are always going to be certain artists like Hurvin Anderson and Ella that are in a great deal of demand, so there’s a big rush. And then there are other artists where it takes having conversations over a great deal of time.”  Londoner Alison Jacques reported a similarly solid set of six-figure sales in Miami Beach. A 1955 work on paper by Lygia Clark—the late Brazilian artist for whom demand is still rampant following her MoMAretrospective last year—topped Jacques’s balance sheet at $600,000.Dorothea Tanning’s 1979 painting Salut, délire! (Hail, Delirium!), a sumptuous abstraction of two intertwined figures that featured in the gallery’s collaborative show of Tanning’s work at Marianne Boesky’s uptown space this past summer, sold for $400,000. Slovak artist Maria Bartuszová’s bronze Drop (1963-1984) was also quick to sell for €200,000.

Participating galleries described their experiences with enthusiasm:

‘It was surprising to see how Art Basel in Miami Beach, which already had in the previous years a top standard, could still increase its level by showing high quality art and

attracting many new collectors from around the world. We are very happy that we could place all of the important works we brought, and were positively surprised by the connoisseurship of many visitors.’

Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder & Director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, Salzburg

‘We wish we had brought more work because we’ve sold 80 percent of the booth. We’re really happy that sales have been across the board from historical to younger artists.’ Andrea Rosen, President, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

‘We had an excellent fair, if not one of the best Art Basel in Miami Beach shows ever. We sold a number of high quality pieces. There was sales activity every day, not only at the opening, with a good mix of new contacts and returning collectors.’

Annette Kicken, Owner, Kicken Berlin, Berlin

‘We usually do well at this fair, but this year, we had an exceptional experience and sold out the entire booth on the first day. Collectors are informed, thoughtful and very actively interested, so this has been a truly exhilarating experience for us.’

Susanne Vielmetter, Owner / Director, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City

‘Art Basel in Miami Beach gets stronger each year, and the key factor in its success is the mix of collectors buying emerging artists along with collectors, museums and foundations buying mid-career and historic work at much higher price points. Visitors are focused on the fair itself, rather than being distracted outside. I only wish that all fairs could be to the ultimate level of Art Basel.’

Alison Jacques, Owner, Alison Jacques Gallery, London

‘As usual, Art Basel’s show in Miami Beach has been very eventful inside and outside the fair. It ́s been a great week and we have had the pleasure of showing important works by historic Latin American artists alongside our younger artists, which made it a very special week for us and our collectors.’

Alexandra Garcia Waldman, Artistic Director, Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro

‘We took a bit of a risk bringing historic work – video art, no less – but the response here has been tremendous. The museum interest has been particularly strong. Many institutions that had previously overlooked video are now taking a second look.’

Cristin Tierney, Owner / Senior Director, Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York

‘Art Basel in Miami Beach was this year calm, serious and focused.’

Sadie Coles, Sadie Coles HQ, London

‘Art Basel in Miami Beach has been very successful for us this year. Starting off with the sale of Damien Hirst’s major sculpture “The Incomplete Truth” in the first couple of hours of the opening day, we experienced a strong suite of sales across the board. All in all, a fantastic week.’

Daniela Gareh, Partner, White Cube, London, Hong Kong

‘We’ve had a great response to our booth this year, especially to the sculptures we brought by Guillermo Kuitca. There is always a lot of energy at Art Basel in Miami Beach, as well as the opportunity to engage with new and returning collectors.’

Alexandre Gabriel, Director, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo

‘Not only is Art Basel in Miami Beach a wonderful fair, but it is an opportunity to connect with both new and old friends. We have had great success here. We are so pleased to

show our artists this year across the fair, from our stand in the main halls, to Hank Willis Thomas in Public, to Carrie Mae Weems in Film.’

Jack Shainman, Owner, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, Kinderhook

‘The quality and atmosphere were excellent, with an amazing presence of Latin American collectors. It was also exciting to see a growing interest in Cuban art, and the fair has been the perfect occasion for us to present our new project in Havana.’

Maurizio Rigillo, Director & Partner, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, Havana

‘The fair has been a tremendous success for us, both critically and commercially. We’ve placed Rosalyn Drexler’s works with major institutions, and her work finally seems to be getting the recognition that it deserves! Survey is a perfect platform for overlooked or under-appreciated artists and allows for just the kind of re-presentation that is so critical to these artists’ careers. Every year, for five days in December, the show forces the international art world to focus.’

Garth Greenan, Director, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

‘We were delighted to find that once again there was a strong audience for conceptual art at Art Basel in Miami Beach, and our Kabinett presentation received great attention from both museum curators and collectors.’

Jocelyn Wolff, Founder, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris

‘We are very grateful to be part of an inspiring Positions sector. Showing a two-hour-long work by Henning Fehr and Philipp Ruehr is a truly rewarding experience, we have received fantastic feedback and serious interest.’

Max Mayer, Founder, Galerie Max Mayer, Dusseldorf

‘We were very happy to be at the fair for the first time. Our Survey booth presented Shinjiro Okamoto and attracted collectors from all over the world.’

Yukihito Tabata, Director, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Tokyo, Beijing

‘We were positively surprised by the amount of serious and discerning collectors and new institutional contacts we made during our first showing in Miami Beach.’

Gregor Staiger, Owner / Director, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich

This year featured one of the strongest Galleries sectors ever, with 191 of the world’s leading established galleries, including first-time exhibitors Andrew Edlin Gallery (New York) and Mazzoleni (Turin, London), as well as galleries returning after a brief hiatus: Galerie Barbara Thumm (Berlin) and ProjecteSD (Barcelona). Highlights included an installation of works by Louise Nevelson at Pace (New York, London, Menlo Park, Beijing, Hong Kong), a solo booth dedicated to Robert Mangold at Galería Elvira González (Madrid), ‘Man in Blue VI’ (1954) by Francis Bacon at Van de Weghe Fine Art (New York), ‘Tutto’ (1992-1994) by Alighiero Boetti at Tornabuoni Art (Paris), Jimmie Durham’s enormous ‘Still Life with Xitle and Spirit’ (2007) at Peter Freeman, Inc. (New York, Paris) and delicately textured Dansaekhwa paintings by Ha Chong-Hyun at Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery (Seoul, New York). The artists presented reflected the show’s international focus – from Emirati artist Hassan Sharif at Alexander Gray Associates (New York) and Chinese artist Zhang Ding at Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), to Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa at Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, Havana), and Brazilian artists José Bento, Fabiano Gonper, Laura Lima and Maria Nepomuceno at A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janiero).

The third year of Edition, Art Basel’s sector dedicated to works in multiple or prints, featured 12 galleries: Alan Cristea Gallery (London), Carolina Nitsch (New York), Crown

Point Press (San Francisco), Gemini G.E.L. LLC (Los Angeles), Pace Prints (New York), Paragon (London), Paul Stolper Gallery (London), Polígrafa Obra Gràfica (Barcelona), Sabine Knust (Munich), STPI (Singapore), Two Palms (New York) and ULAE (Bay Shore).

Featuring work made in the last three years, Nova presented 34 galleries, from Tobias Madison and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy at Freedman Fitzpatrick (Los Angeles) to Elias Hansen, Shinro Ohtake and Aki Sasamoto at Take Ninagawa (Tokyo). Featured artists included Keren Cytter at Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art (Tel-Aviv); Ciprian Mureşan and Navid Nuur at Galeria Plan B (Cluj, Berlin); Luciano Figueiredo, Sandra Gamarra and Mauro Piva at Galeria Leme (São Paulo); Antoine Catala and Gregory Edwards at 47 Canal (New York); Nicholas Mangan, Labor (Mexico City); Sam Anderson, and Phoebe Collings-James and Noel McKenna at mother’s tankstation (Dublin).

Among the 16 exhibitors in Positions, 12 were first-time participants in the sector. Artists included Dan Bayles at François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles), Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz at Marcelle Alix (Paris), Vittorio Brodmann at Galerie Gregor Staiger (Zurich), Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr at Galerie Max Mayer (Dusseldorf), GCC at Project Native Informant (London), Jiieh G Hur at One and J. Gallery (Seoul), Fritzia Irizar at Arredondo \ Arozarena (Mexico City), Daniel Keller at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), Andrei Koschmieder at Real Fine Art (New York), Jaromír Novotný at hunt kastner (Prague), Sean Paul at Thomas Duncan Gallery (Los Angeles), Romy Pocztaruk at SIM Galeria (Curitiba), B. Ingrid Olson at Simone Subal Gallery (New York), Villa Design Group at Mathew Gallery (Berlin, New York), Thomas Wachholz at RaebervonStenglin (Zurich) and He Xiangyu at White Space Beijing (Beijing).

Returning for its second year, Survey presented 14 projects of works made before 2000. A platform highlighting works rarely seen in an art-fair context, the sector included a single-artist display of nine videos by Peter Campus at Cristin Tierney Gallery (New York) presented together for the first time in over 30 years; one of the largest selections of photographs by Roy DeCarava at Jenkins Johnson Gallery (San Francisco, New York); and an overview of work by Dorothy Iannone at Peres Projects (Berlin). The sector also featured work by Charles Burchfield at DC Moore Gallery (New York), Gianni Colombo at Robilant +Voena (London, Milan, St. Moritz), Rosalyn Drexler at Garth Greenan Gallery (New York), Heinz Mack at Beck & Eggeling (Dusseldorf), Roberto Burle Marx at Bergamin & Gomide (São Paulo), Shinjiro Okamoto at Tokyo Gallery + BTAP (Tokyo), Miguel Ángel Rojas at espaivisor (Valencia), Peter Saul at George Adams Gallery (New York), Keith Sonnier at Castelli Gallery (New York), Ettore Spalletti at Vistamare (Pescara) and Wang Jinsong at Beijing Art Now Gallery (Beijing).

A decade after its inauguration in 2005, Kabinett presented 27 curated exhibitions installed within booths across the show. Highlights included an installation by Isa Melsheimer at Galerie Jocelyn Wolff (Paris), early paintings by Richard Pettibone at Galerie 1900-2000 (Paris), paintings by Ana Sacerdote at Jorge Mara – La Ruche (Buenos Aires), vintage photographs by Agnès Varda at Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels) and Chris Burden at Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna). Two exhibitors from Edition participated in Kabinett: Alan Cristea Gallery (London) with two works by Michael Craig- Martin and Two Palms (New York) with a suite of 11 line etchings by Chris Ofili, whose entwined figures are only revealed upon close inspection of the fine lines.

Public, always a highlight of the Miami Beach show, was curated for the third consecutive year by Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of New York’s Public Art Fund, and featured 27 large-scale and site-specific installations and performances by 26 leading and emerging artists from over 11 countries set within Collins Park. Presented under the theme ‘Metaforms’, the sector featured Olaf Breuning, James Capper, Tony Cragg, Melvin Edwards, Sam Falls, Sylvie Fleury, Katharina Grosse, Matt Johnson,

Jacob Kassay, Kris Martin, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Athena Papadopoulos, Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Sterling Ruby, Michael Sailstorfer, Tomás Saraceno, Tony Tasset, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Francisco Ugarte, Timm Ulrichs, Marianne Vitale, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Hank Willis Thomas, Robert Wilson, Yan Xing and Yu Xiao. Through ‘tc: temporary contemporary’, over a dozen works will remain on view through February 2016. Produced for the fifth year running in partnership with the Bass Museum of Art, Public officially opened on Wednesday, December 2, with performances by Xavier Cha, Ryan Gander, Pope.L and Yan Xing.

Curated by David Gryn, Director of Daata Editions and London’s Artprojx, the show’s Film program included over 50 films and video works by and about artists drawn from the show’s participating galleries. The program featured four nights of free screenings in SoundScape Park on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry designed New World Center. Artists included Ida Applebroog, Anna Barham, Breda Beban, Janet Biggs, Sue de Beer, Rineke Dijkstra, Tracey Emin, Barbara Hammer, Shirazeh Houshiary, Jaki Irvine, Anna K.E. & Florian Meisenberg, Jumana Manna, Howardena Pindell, Cauleen Smith, Catherine Sullivan and Marnie Weber. First-time curator Marian Masone, Senior Programing Advisor, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York, selected the feature film: ‘Troublemakers – The Story of Land Art’ (2015) by filmmaker James Crump. The special screening took place at the Colony Theatre.

The show’s daily talks program brought together leading figures from around the world and was attended by over 1,800 visitors. Conversations opened with the Premiere Artist Talk between Jenny Holzer and Trevor Paglen. Hans Ulrich Obrist led a panel on ‘The Artist as Slow Traveler’ with Shilpa Gupta, Paulo Nazareth, Stephen Shore, Shahzia Sikander and Samson Young. In ‘Should Art Schools Prepare Artists for the Art World?’, András Szántó discussed the role of an art school education with Sanford Biggers, Nicolas Bourriaud, Howard Singerman and Rosanne Somerson, while on Sunday, December 6, artist Nicole Eisenman spoke with her gallerist Susanne Vielmetter. The Salon program featured curator Stéphane Aquin in conversation about the Cuban art scene with the artist Carlos Garaicoa and art historian Iliana Cepero Amador. Additional panels considered the role of the archive, the ethics of art advising, audio and sound works, collecting as a political act, the evolution of contemporary art in Los Angeles, and new hybrid art spaces. Videos of all Conversations and Salon talks are available at

On Thursday, December 3, BMW and Art Basel announced the shortlist of artists nominated for the second BMW Art Journey, a juried award that enables emerging artists to go on a journey of creative discovery to a destination of their choice. The selected artists – Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr at Galerie Max Mayer (Dusseldorf), Dan Bayles at François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles) and Fritzia Irizar at Arredondo \ Arozarena (Mexico City) – will be developing proposals for the journey, with the winner to be announced in early 2016. The BMW Art Journey is open to artists from Positions and Discoveries, Art Basel’s sectors for emerging artists in Miami Beach and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit:

Beyond the exhibition halls, South Florida’s cultural institutions and museums once again enriched the week. Highlights included the first exhibition in the United States by the Cuban artist Gustavo Pérez Monzón at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation; ‘Anselm Kiefer: Paintings, Sculpture and Installation’ and ‘Susan Philipsz: Immersive Sound Installation’ at The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse; ‘NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Collection’, an exhibition of women artists at the Rubell Family Collection; and ‘You’ve Got to Know the Rules… to Break Them’ at The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space.

Furthering its long-standing engagement with the digital sphere, Art Basel launched an updated mobile app, which provides essential information regarding the show, including an interactive floorplan and a global artworks catalog of galleries participating at Art Basel’s shows.

Directly following the closing of the show, the Miami Beach Convention Center will undergo planned renovation. Phased around the upcoming Art Basel shows, the construction schedule ensures that the 2016 edition will take place with the same floorplan as this year, while the 2017 edition will feature a new floorplan. Renovations will be completed before Art Basel returns to Miami Beach in December 2018. 


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