Robin Pogrebin asked ArtBasel’s management about the VIP Vernissage attendance and they confirmed that the numbers were off a substantial 9.4%. That’s pretty big news. With further reports of hotels slashing their rates and vacancies, the visitor numbers for the public access to the fair may be well off the past numbers too.
Pogrebin summarized the welter of causes assumed to account for the drop:
The reason, many agreed, had to do with several factors: fear of the Zika virus, a tentativeness in the art market around the presidential election and too many art fairs. But the result was a general sense of relief — turmoil in the world has winnowed out some of the dabblers, and purchases are more deliberative.
Nonetheless, reported sales remained relatively strong—though with private sales there is no reliable information to go by—which bolster’s Pogrebin’s point about the art market. It remains dependent upon a relatively small group of buyers. Does that mean the art market is better off when the less committed don’t show up? Or do buyers need the audience to validate their purchases?Continue Reading