ArtInfo wraps up the Palm Beach³ art fair with this good news/bad news report. The good news is the overly familiar “things are so much better now that the real collectors are back in the market” take on the market. Here’s an example from one Palm Beach 3 vendor:
“The bubble that seems to have burst has helped the business,” said Gregg Shienbaum of Verve Gallery in nearby Fort Lauderdale. “This year, instead of the investor buying, we had more people interested in the art itself — looking at the artwork first, then the price tag. This year there was passion for the art; last year it was more for the game.” [ . . . ] While the fair’s January 14 preview reportedly was attended by about 1,800 VIPs (up from 1,500 in 2008), Shienbaum estimated that his sales were 25 to 30 percent lower than at the 2008 edition,
The bad news is that some vendors feel the fair has a long way to go to live up to its potential. Founder David Lester has returned to running the fair, here’s the message one client is sending to him:
Tom Grotta of Browngrotta Arts, which has participated in Palmbeach3 since it moved into the Palm Beach Convention Center in 2005, believes the fair could do better if it tapped into the crossover potential of its unique three-pronged structure of exhibiting contemporary art, photography, and design.
“This show has always had the greatest potential that they’ve never reached,” said the frustrated Grotta, who also runs a small ad agency. “It’s the only true hybrid fair, and they don’t promote that well enough to make this a destination show [for collectors] outside Palm Beach. It’s not a must-see event.”
Calm and Conservative at Palm Beach³ (ArtInfo)