Art Basel Miami Beach
A firsthand perspective from Art Basel & Art Basel Miami Beach co-directors
Interview with Annette Schönholzer & Marc Spiegler
What distinguishes Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach from other art shows?
MS: Both our shows include virtually all of the most important galleries worldwide, due to our strict gallery selection. That is a key success factor because the quality of our show always depends upon our participating galleries and the quality of artworks that they bring. Our galleries and visitors also enjoy all the special programming, including the Art Basel Conversations panels, the Art Film program, and the Art Parcours and Art Unlimited exhibitions.
Much has happened in the last 11 years. How have the recent economic challenges impacted artists, collectors and the art market?
MS: Despite the economic turmoil, strong works continue being sold to serious collectors—people who are living with art, not speculating with art. Sales at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2010 and Art 42 Basel this June proved particularly good, and the gallery-application numbers for both shows remain very high. For a while, in 2009 and 2010, we could see a trend toward more mature artists with proven track records. But now emerging artists are also sought-after. So, the market is strong at many levels, which is great for our galleries, which range from very new spaces to the biggest global powerhouses.
What trends are emerging in contemporary art and how does that influence where you go from here? How do you hope to influence new paths/ideas/trends?
AS: We do not try to create new trends, but we closely monitor the current state of artist production—the ways in which artists are working and the themes they are focusing on. These always influence us heavily in our decisions on how to evolve, by adding new sectors or choosing topics for our talk programs.
UBS has been the main sponsor of Art Basel since 1994 and of Art Basel Miami Beach since its inception. How does your relationship with sponsors contribute to the show’s success?
MS: UBS was our first sponsor and has shown amazing commitment. For instance, by additionally sponsoring the Art Unlimited sector in 2000. The longstanding relationships and deep trust we share with UBS mean we are able to bring the partnership to another level. In general, our sponsors are very important partners for Art Basel, because so many of our more cultural initiatives would simply not be possible without them. And we always seek partners who are involved in the arts on a daily basis so that our shared interests can create interesting synergies.
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