Every December, New York galleries relocate to Miami to show off their wares in a week-long, multi-tiered art fair extravaganza, named colloquially by professionals after the largest and longest running fair of the lot, Art Basel Miami. This year, gallerists expect to do better than last year, and while I don't wholly understand the reasons for their prediction, I'm guessing it's because the stock market crash was a bit more of a recent downer in 2008 than it is now. Equally scientifically rationalized are my predictions for this year's art fair festivities. In no particular order, they are:
1. Art handlers will have more opportunities to get laid. Last year, sources complained that while the number of preparators at the convention center remained more or less the same, cutbacks were felt in their main source of tail—the field of gallerinas. According to one source, their physical presence was deemed less essential. With the economic state of affairs looking better, I expect the Miami gender balance will return to its natural admin-assistant-balanced equilibrium, which will make everyone happy.
2. NADA's Q&A, Ask Matthew! with Matthew Higgs will be swarmed with artists asking the White Columns Director why he's not showing more emerging art at the non-profit's space. Actually, this probably won't happen, but WE WISH IT WOULD. White Columns is one of many diminishing venues for emerging artists across the city, and the move away from the organization's original mandate occurred roughly around the same time as Higgs' arrival.
3. Traffic in the city will be a nightmare sent straight from the devil himself. It always is.
4. The Art Basel Conversations panel Friday morning will ask museum directors Marc Mayer, Timothy Rub, Osvaldo Sanchez, Philippe Vergne, and Lynn Zelevansky to discuss future directions for arts institutions. Given the recent debate over the New Museum's decision to showcase a trustee's collection, I anticipate a more passionate discussion than usual.
5. NADA's new location on the South Beach main strip will bring all kinds of new collectors their way. For years now, they've been too far away from Basel's convention center to be truly competitive, and although the fairs never describe other fairs as competition, I would like to point out that they clearly are.
6. From the ashes of Bridge, its founder and Facebook aficionado Michael Workman creates Verge Fair, an outfit designed to lure the crappiest exhibitors bogging Pulse down to the Miami shoreline. Partially purged, Pulse will henceforth be transformed back to its mediocre self.
7. Musician Lenny Kravitz will meet actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the Art Basel preview. Boredom will ensue. I might report on it anyway.
(photo: William Pope.L: “The Black Factory” 2002-2009, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York)
I wish I could be optimistic about NADA’s move, but I think the geography is actually working against it here — 67th and Collins is actually farther from the Convention Center then the Ice Palace, and while everyone will be spending time in Wynwood (to which it’s very close), making the schlep up the beach is a drag for anyone not already staying there. And I STILL have no idea what the parking situation up there is like. I’m bummed about NADA’s move, partially because for me at least it’s out of the way, and because I find hotel rooms to be a pretty terrible venue for art.