ArtBasel announced today that Noah Horowitz would be joining the international art fair as director of the Americas. The appointment raises an interesting question: Is ArtBasel looking to expand in America? There have been previous hints that ArtBasel wanted to launch in LA but that market has yet to fully develop.
With Horowitz on board and Frieze making inroads to New York, the question is whether ArtBasel wants to take on New York.
Update: Marc Spiegler, ArtBasel’s head, contacted us to put any speculation to rest:
Art Basel has no intention of launching a new Art Basel show in New York, Los Angeles – or anywhere else.
Based on our successful experience with having a Director Asia, we will now be focusing director-level attention onto the many art scenes thriving across the two vast continents of the Americas. The goal: creating more opportunities for our galleries and their artists, not only in Miami Beach but throughout Art Basel’s activities worldwide.
Here’s the New York Times interview:
“We already have the strongest show in America,” Mr. Spiegler said. “The more time we can spend out there in the field, getting to know the different players — galleries, museum directors, advisers — the more they can know about Art Basel.”
After four years, Mr. Horowitz said he felt he was leaving the Armory Show in a strong position. To emphasize quality over quantity, he said, he has reduced the number of galleries to 199 this year, from more than 270 in 2011. And he has lent the show an international focus by selecting specific themes, like Chinese contemporary art in 2014. Higher-end galleries that had lost confidence in the fair have been returning, new galleries are eager to get in, and the volume of applications is up, he said.
“It is stronger than ever in terms of galleries and art on view,” he said. “It is certainly the leading fair in New York.”
But Mr. Horowitz said he felt he had gone as far as he could with the show, and relished the international stage that the Art Basel name represents. “Whereas the Armory is a New York institution, Basel is the only truly global institution in the contemporary-art space,” he said.
Mr. Spiegler said he had approached Mr. Horowitz about the job because he was impressed by what he had achieved at the Armory Show.
Art Basel Hires Armory Show Director to Run Its Miami Fair (The New York Times)