Felix Salmon wonders why Art Basel is in a battle with Scope art fair over Scope’s plans to camp out on the football pitch a stone’s throw from Art Basel in the Swiss town this June as reported in the Financial Times:
I would have expected, however, that even Art Basel would have been quite excited about Scope. After all, the massive success of its own spin-off fair, Art Basel Miami Beach, is largely a product of the fact that a very large number of satellite fairs — Scope, Pulse, Flow, etc etc — sprung up around it and helped to give it a lot of free extra buzz. Just as specialist retailers tend to cluster together geographically, so do art fairs tend to all appear in the same place and at the same time, to the benefit of them all.
In today’s straitened economic times, however, it’s possible that Art Basel is worried that its dealers will desert the more-prestigious Art Basel location for the adjacent (and significantly cheaper) Scope. Given that most collectors who attend Art Basel will look in on Scope as well, it’s easy to see how dealers looking to cut costs might willingly take the step down, especially when Scope is so nearby.
Annals of Competition, Art Fair Edition (Reuters)