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More Galleries of Color Debut at Art Basel Miami

  • December 05, 2021

Overall, however, the fair — as well as its myriad satellite events, such as Untitled, NADA and Design Miami — provided further proof that the art market is largely immune to social and political upheaval.

Most galleries, particularly blue-chip dealers, reported strong sales, including a Noah Davis painting that went for $1.4 million and an Ad Reinhardt abstract for more than $7 million at David Zwirner, as well as a Keith Haring for $1.75 million and an Elizabeth Murray for $725,000 at Gladstone. Salon 94 sold a double Dutch jump rope sculpture by Karon Davis for $150,000 to the streetwear mogul James Whitner.

“It felt a little like Groundhog Day,” said Tim Blum of Blum Poe gallery. “If you go through the fair, you might think this is 2019.”

Indeed, the evenings were full of dinners and parties — Alicia Keys performed at the immersive exhibition space Superblue in the Miami Design District — with most decked-out guests not wearing masks (and bemoaning the traffic congestion). Many noted how happy they were to be physically gathering in Miami Beach to view art and embrace each other again (yes, air kissing is back).

“There is nothing like seeing people in person and having engaged conversations,” said Jo Stella-Sawicka, the senior director of the Goodman Gallery, which has locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London, adding that she was already flying to Florida when news of the new variant broke.

While the fair’s timed entry precluded the usual opening bell stampede through the doors — and some collectors groused that they didn’t get the time slots they wanted — gallerists said the more spaced-out admissions allowed for calmer, more substantive conversations with visitors.

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