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HAPPENINGText: Ilaria Ventriglia

And if all that wasn't enough or if the desire to purchase was to come upon us, but at more accessible prices, there are still another two small side events.

ArtPoint, twelve non profit making organisations and a number of small galleries offer a range of proposals which are exclusively American. And then there is Scope Miami, into its second edition. It is an entertaining idea of a fair which is certainly growing, and which has already had suceess with both public and collectors.

Thirty small one man shows held in the private rooms of the Townhouse Hotel, a small hotel with character and atmosphere just a short distance away from the fair. The work is on the bed, in the bathroom, in the wardrobe and when the fair closes (very late obviously) the gallery is transformed back into a bedroom for the artists and young gallery owners.

Tim Noble & Sue Webster, “Real Life is Rubbish”, 2002. Courtesy Modern Art Museum

In the end, anyone who has seen a few art fairs in their time can see a certain amount of trend setting in this first edition in Florida: there is certainly much more painting and sculpture compared to photography and a tendency on the part of many gallery owners to adapt to local tastes.

Works emerges with a Latin energy, a great deal of colour, little which is conceptual and little with a minimalist touch, almost always large scale works. We are not in New York now and the people here live in houses where space is not a problem. Miami is a Latin city – so much so that when they speak to you in English in a Cuban restaurant it sounds a bit weird – and is a regular haunt for rich families from South American: this makes it a winning strategic choice.

Together with 30,000 visitors to the fair, making the event a success, have passed through the most important collectors from around the world, along with a new wave of rich South American couples.

Covered in designer labels, bronzed and glittering they wander round the pavilions, often taking little notice of the names of the artists as well as the prices. The result has been of great satisfaction for the gallery owners.

This lively and colourful Art Miami has little of the airs which its mountain relative in Switzerland has and doesn’t intimidate anyone.

Alongside in the Vip-area in the Convention Center we can even have a massage with tropical oils in between a chat and a look around. And if instead we need help, the magazine ArtNexus can organise us a daily tour around the fair in English or Spanish. 15 dollars… ask at the desk.

Art Basel/Miami Beach 2002
Date: December 5th – 8th, 2002
Place: Miami Beach, Florida

Text: Ilaria Ventriglia
Photos: Courtesy Art Basel Miami Beach © the artists

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