Scott Reyburn focuses on the ways in which dealers generate interest and protect their costs by pre-selling works that will be at a prestigious fair like the recently completed ArtBasel. There’s no single way to do this. Some dealers seem to have mounted booths with works that were already sold before they were uncrated. Some have suggested that Urs Fischer’s work at Sadie Coles was all-but-invoiced before the fair even opened.
Others seem to have a hybrid strategy of covering their costs and seeding interest by selling early, accepting advanced holds and still having a few works on hand to mop up the interest that has been generated:
The New York dealer Marianne Boesky typified the new dynamic in operation at Art Basel. She brought six new paintings by Donald Moffett, one of her gallery’s most sought-after artists, priced at $40,000 to $50,000 each. Two were bought by an American collector just before the fair; two were reserved and became confirmed sales when the clients visited the booth; the remainder were still available at the time of writing.
A Shadow Market at Art Basel (NYTimes.com)