[intro]OK: Let’s Just Make that Brasil[/intro]
The Wall Street Journal seems to like its art stories to have a strong lead and a clear trend. So the ArtBasel Miami Beach story declares Latins the new Russians. Nevermind the fair was founded in Miami exactly for its presence as the cosmopolitan capital of Latin America:
Now, while many collectors world-wide have scaled back their art spending, dealers are discovering that Latin American collectors are still buying. Brazil’s economy is thriving. Prominent members of the Venezuelan diaspora in Florida and Texas have oil fortunes. Many top contemporary collectors in Mexico, such as Eugenio López, oversee manufacturing empires that make recession-proof goods like fruit juice. Art Basel Miami Beach—which saw a drop in sales and attendance last December in the face of global economic turmoil—needs an enthusiastic collecting force.
Of course, even a trend story needs to have its “too be sure” exemption:
It is unclear whether the influx of Latin American collectors will be enough to significantly boost Art Basel’s sales this year. The fair does not divulge overall sales figures, which makes it difficult to track sales totals over time. Anecdotally, dealers say they’ve sold pieces for anywhere from $2,000 to just over $1 million this week.
Despite the massive spread in price points just described, the Journal does provide a few sales data points:
Sperone Westwater Gallery
- a painting by Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca—whose watery diagrams of theater stages are part of a major retrospective at the Miami Art Museum—for $250,000
- sold a couple dozen artworks by artists like Will Ryman and Claudio Bravo for around $2 million combined
Art Basel’s New Power Players (Wall Street Journal)