Brian Sherwin, Senior Editor of the site www.myartspace.com, who is well-known for his fine interviews, discusses the Miami Basel Art Fair, taking a long term view of his impressions.
Gallerists, collectors, and art appreciators were fully aware of the dark cloud-- psychologically speaking-- looming over Miami during the recent art fairs. The 'rain' fell on Scope, Pulse, Bridge and other art fairs-- they fell on Art Basel Miami Beach as well. It was a psychological rain and with it came great concern and fear surrounding the stability of the current art market. The streets and busses were filled with rumors and dark predictions-- this collective voice of dissatisfaction blared throughout the length of the Miami fairs. ...
... The 'rain' fell early on. Individuals fueled by optimism turned utterly pessimistic as the doubts of gallerists and their assistants became overly visible-- you could see the concern in their faces... in their eyes. While roaming the fairs I experienced several instances of gallery assistants looking at my collection of press passes as if I were some form of hope in an otherwise dismal situation. In their eyes I could see open questions, such as-- "Who does he write for?", "Will he stop here?", "Was this trip worth the cost?". There was a foreboding sense of despair-- even at Art Basel Miami Beach. I don't think any dealer or assistant was exempt from the realization of the cold market the art market has found itself in due to the struggles of the economy as a whole.
As the days went on it seemed that gallerists and their assistants were more focused on their next smoke break or social outing than the possibility of selling art. In fact, some seemed to have a great deal of struggle herding their help back to stable, so to speak. The question I found myself asking was-- "is it really that bad or has the aura of pessimism got the better of some individuals?". Ironically, I did chance into a few conversations with buyers who were annoyed that upon finding a piece of interest there was no assistant/dealer on hand to negotiate with. One buyer confused my status and thought that I was an exhibitor--- upon telling her that my pass was a press pass she stormed away saying aloud, "How do they expect to sell if there is no one here to do it". I smiled and continued on.
Continue reading here.