Vernissage Art Basel 2016
Last major milestone of the year art, the contemporary art fair Art Basel has packed its bags under the Miami sun for a memorable fifteenth edition and transformed this Florida metropolis into a center of sky art. This edition is a record: more than 25 satellite fairs, and new addresses such as the newly inaugurated Faena Forum, by the Argentine businessman and hotel promoter Alan Faena and in the presence of Madonna.
Whether it is the stand of the Swiss gallery Gmurzynska, imagined by Claude Picasso (son of…) to accompany an extraordinary retrospective of the Russian avant-garde, the pop-up radio station proposed by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School (and soon to be ex-DA of DKNY), the performance by rapper Kendrick Lamar (a collaboration with visual artist Shantell Martin for American Express on the theme “Music meets Art”) or the accidental and apparently spontaneous destruction of a Jeff Koons miniature Balloon Dog (a work by Jeff Koons (which also featured the monumental Ballerina and Pluto & Proserpina in the gardens of the Oceana Bal Harbour’s Residences, this edition offers more than ever highly diversified levels of reading that testify to a global interest.
15 years therefore, the age of maturity for the fair of Swiss origin with a rich topicality but also a certain rebound of the art market. While this is a long-term investment, it is an insistent and immediate reflection of the current world, and an election year like 2016 is not insignificant, both for production and trade. For example, the resurgence of works dealing with the campaign and President-elect Donald Trump, whose “good words”, so to speak, have been a constant feature of networks and debates. And what about the performance of the duo Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw, swimming in a giant bowl for a critique of this ecosystem of non-affiliated events that has settled around the main fair.
This Thursday evening, the vernissage looked like a holiday crossover as collections such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dasha Zukhova and Jean Pigozzi gave way to another audience. So the dice had already been rolled for the sales and once the excitement of a VIP day had passed (the one where collectors, public and private institutions are in a hurry to find their acquisitions), there is only the pleasure of enjoying for a few more days the some 2.5 billion dollars of works offered to the eyes by the 269 galleries grouped together at the Miami Beach Convention Center.