December 8, 2002 - Art Basel - Successful Premiere of Art Basel Miami Beach
December 8, 2002

Successful Premiere of Art Basel Miami Beach

Successful Premiere of Art Basel Miami Beach
4 - 7 December 2002

Art Basel Miami Beach
PO Box, CH-4021 Basel
tel. +41 58 200 20 20
fax: +41 58 206 31 32

Superior quality of works of art, excellent sales results, visitors from all over the world

Miami Beach, Florida The first edition of Art Basel Miami Beach, the International Art Show, closed its doors on Sunday, December 8. The exhibiting galleries, the world press and the international public rated the premiere of Art Basel Miami Beach positively, and spoke of a suc-cessful and exciting event. From day one, Art Basel Miami Beach established itself as the most important art show for contemporary art in the USA. The 160 exhibitors from the USA, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa said farewell to their 30000 visitors after five days packed with events, discoveries and successful sales. Samuel Keller, Director of Art Basel Miami Beach, had the following to say about the new art event: «The first edition of Art Basel Miami Beach exceeded all the expectations of the Show Management with regard to the quail-ty of the works displayed, the number of visitors, media attention and sales results. Art Basel Miami Beach was a complete success.» The next Art Basel Miami Beach takes place from December 4 to 7, 2003.

Art Basel Miami Beach is the sister event of Art Basel (Switzerland), which is known as the world’s most important art show. It is a new kind of art event, which combines an art show with an exciting program of special exhibitions, visits of private art collections and crossover events with music, film, fashion, architecture and design. The mild weather of South Florida welcomed 30000 visitors from all continents to Miami Beach. The 160 participating leading gal-leries from all the world’s important art cities, the international press and the public agreed that the first Art Basel Miami Beach was a complete success. Even before it opened, the prominent list of participants had already shown the new art event to be the most outstanding art show for contemporary art on the entire American continent.

Art Basel Miami Beach attracted several thousand leading collectors, artists, curators, art critics, art dealers and art lovers from around the globe, including many celebrities from the art, entertainment and fashion world. Over 400 repre-sentatives of the media visited this new international art event. That many foreign languages could be heard in the exhibition halls testifies, not only to the great international scope of participating galleries (56% of the galleries were from abroad), but also to the large number of visitors from all over the world. On the Vernissage before the official opening, Art Basel Miami Beach had the privilege of welcoming 7000 important guests. Several thousand attended the opening night of «Art Positions». The elaborately designed catalog book, which provides an extensive overview of the current offer on the international art market, was highly popular with the visitors and was sold out on the last day of the show.

Around 50 museum groups from all over the world flocked to Art Basel Miami Beach. The New York delegations came from the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the New Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Friends of The Tate American Fund. In addition, there were groups from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, from the SF MOMA in San Francisco, from the Hirshhorn Museum and the Sculpture Garden in Washington, from the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, from the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas and from many other cities. Representatives also came from the Museo de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery of Toronto, Canada, and the Friends of the Contemporary Art Museum, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain. Curators and private collectors from all the world’s important art capitals gathered information on the best that the international art market has to offer. Aside from important representatives of the American and European art scene, there were, above all, many opinion leaders from Latin America.

UBS Financial Services supported Art Basel Miami Beach. It has also been the main sponsor of Art Basel in Switzerland since 1994.

The art experts present rated the quality and variety of the works of art on display at Art Basel Miami Beach as excellent. The exhibiting galleries had spared no effort to show the most interesting works of art and to present them in carefully designed exhibitions. Various booths showed thematically grouped exhibits and one-person shows of artists. Many galleries presented newly created works of art, but also video works and outsize installations. Paintings and paper works made a comeback, and photography was also much in evidence.

New platforms of the art show included the container village «Art Positions» on Miami’s beautiful beach, the «Art Video Lounge» with its futuristic archi-tecture in the Miami Beach Public Library and the works created specially for Art Basel Miami Beach («Art Projects») shown in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach. In «Art Positions», 20 young galleries were able to show their avant-garde program at advantageous conditions. Here, the international public gathered for a Happy Hour on the beach every evening to enjoy the sunset accompanied by hot rhythms and cold drinks. Danzas, the official logistics partners of the show, generously supported the «Art Positions» platform. The extensive three-part program of the latest video works by artists from around the globe shown in the «Art Video Lounge» attracted an interested audience, which was particularly numerous for the special screenings in the evenings.

Another special crowd-puller proved to be «Art Statements» the one-person shows of young artists from 11 countries in the Miami Beach Convention Center. The participants were very pleased with the great interest shown in this platform, which not only rewarded them with good sales, but also brought them contacts to many exhibition makers from around the world as well as great media interest.

The public’s appetite for contemporary art appears to be unbroken. According to surveys by the Show Management, all the exhibiting galleries succeeded in finding interested purchasers for their works. The majority of participants spoke of good to excellent sales results. Objects were sold in all price categories, from works by young artists costing less than US$ 2,000 to museum-quality masterpieces with price tags in the millions. Fears that the international art market could suffer repercussions due to the difficult economic climate certainly did not come true at Art Basel Miami Beach. The international art market is strongly supported by private collectors, while most public institutions still have access to limited funds. According to statements by many galleries at Art Basel Miami Beach, there is fortunately no lack of young collectors. Societys interest in contemporary art and its forerunners have risen sharply over the past few years.

Nicholas Logsdail, Chairman Lisson Gallery, London declared Art Basel Miami Beach to be «a great and singular new impulse, and the singular dominant fair in the US. It stands in a unique position, outside the power centers, on neutral ground, surrounded by the beauty and warmth of Miami Beach.»

Claudia Altman-Siegel, Director of the Luhring Augustine Gallery from New York also acclaimed the show. «It was great to come, and business was very good. We appreciated the support and generosity of the collectors, both local and coming from around the world to visit the show. The «vacation» vibe of Miami Beach, greatly added to the event.»

Leslie Waddington, Owner of the Waddington Gallery, stated that «there are two or three great Art Fairs in the World and Art Basel Miami Beach is one of them. For the first time around, it is a real miracle.»

Alessandra Vilaca, Director of Galeria Fortes Vilaca, from Brazil, was also enthusiastic. «Very good sales and very good people. This show generated incredible interest and support from all that were involved.»

Patricia Oritz Monasterio, Co-director of Galeria OMR also stated that the show as off to a good start. «This show has great energy coming from all those in-volved, from the galleries participating, from the collectors, from the visitors and from the organizers. Their combined efforts contributed to the success of the show. Great works were offered and great business was done.»

The extensive program of receptions, events and roundtables taking place in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach attracted a large international au-dience. The concept of the crossover events with film, fashion, design and music worked well. The Lincoln Theater where John Waters presented his favorite film «Boom» was completely sold out. Invitations to the evening at the Mynt featuring famous fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld were also snapped up in no time at all.

The «Art Conversations» in the «Art Auditorium» with leading curators, private collectors and architects such as Richard Gluckman, Maxwell L. Anderson, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Fernando Romero, François Roche, Katerina Gregos and Eugenio López discussing contemporary art collecting, the future of museums and architecture for collectors were highly popular and also completely sold out.

The «Art Loves Design» party in the Design District of Miami turned into a real public fiesta. Thousands of visitors were attracted by the twenty exhibitions on art and design.

Another particularly popular feature was the series of visits organized by Art Basel Miami Beach to Greater Miami’s most important private art collections, which generously opened their doors to the international public. The museums of South Florida had spared no effort to present interesting special exhibitions and also reported a great influx of visitors during Art Basel Miami Beach.

BMW provided a car service for VIP guests at Art Basel Miami Beach, which facilitated the transport of the VIPs to the numerous events surrounding the show.

Cooperation with the representatives of the city of Miami Beach worked excellently and contributed significantly to the success of this new cultural event. The Host Committee, consisting of 150 leading personalities from culture, politics and business and headed by the Chairpersons Norman and Irma Braman, made sure that the international guests felt at home in South Florida. The exhibitors and international guests were overwhelmed by the unprecedented hospitality of the city of Miami Beach.

In summary

The first edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was pleasing to the international art world, as well as to the inhabitants of South Florida. The high quality of the works on show, the broad offer of artistic genres, the excellent sales and the glittering side events made Art Basel Miami Beach an excellent and exciting event. Over a short space of time, Art Basel Miami Beach has established itself as the leading art show for contemporary art in the USA and become a popular winter meeting place of the international art world. The next Art Basel Miami Beach takes place from December 4 to 7, 2003.

Art 34 Basel

Art 34 Basel, Switzerland, will take place from June 18 to 23, 2003. A record number of 930 galleries from all continents have applied to participate. The committee in charge of the selection process has chosen 260. They will present works by over 1,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Special sectors show one-person exhibitions by young artists, graphics and films. The «Art Unlimited» hall offers artists and gallery owners a platform where works can be shown that transcend the boundaries of exhibition booths at art shows, and often also those of galleries, museums and other traditional locations for the presentation of art. Art Basel is the largest and most significant art show. Together with the Venice Biennale, which opens a week earlier, it forms the highlight of the art summer 2003.

International Press

The Dom Perignon of the arts events.
The Miami Herald

Die Art Basel Miami Beach ist vielleicht die erste Ausgabe der Kunstmesse der Zukunft.
Die Welt am Sonntag, Berlin

La celebre fiera di Basilea che, non contenta di essere la piú importante del mondo, vuole cosi chiudere lei da sola e in grande stile la stagione espositiva del 2002.
La Stampa, Turin

Direkt am schoenen Art-deco/Distrikt laedt die Ausstellungshalle, mit schweizerischer Perfektion noch schnell auf Spitzenstandard gebracht, in eine neue Kunstarena, deren Qualitaet der Mutterveranstaltung kaum nachsteht. Erstklassig ist sie, und die Auswahl greift weit.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Closing report / December 2002

Information on Art Basel Miami Beach can be obtained from:

Art Basel Miami Beach, PO Box, CH-4021 Basel, tel. +41 58 200 20 20,

fax +41 58 206 31 32,,

For the USA:

US Office Art Basel Miami Beach: FITZ & CO, Sara Fitzmaurice, 526 West 26 Street #916, USA-New York, NY 10001, tel.+1 212 627 1531, fax +1 212 627 0654,

For Florida:

Florida Office Art Basel Miami Beach, Garber & Goodman Inc. 301 41st Street Miami Beach, FL 33140, tel. +1 305 674 1292, fax +1 305 673 1242,

Media information on the internet:

Media information, photos and logos can be downloaded directly from This is also where media workers can enter themselves on the media mailing list in order to receive information on and invitations to Art Basel Miami Beach in future.

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