The Art Cognoscenti knows that first week of June is Basel, Switzerland and every first week of December it is in Miami Beach, FL. Entering its second decade that Art Basel Miami Beach attracted visitors in the upwards of 70,000 for its five day run last December 5 – 9, 2012. From its VIP previews to its public opening that it has become the international and blue chip art fair that is the bastion of all art fairs. AF entered the Miami Beach Convention Center on December 7th expecting the crème de la crème and as soon as you walked in there was a Richard Prince, Mark Rothko, and other stellar named art on display just kept on coming. This is where the well-heeled and deep pocketed flock to nab the latest acquisitions to add to their collection. Art Basel consistently managed to draw the big guns in its white glaring space. The industry heavyweights and the glamorous collectors populated the expansive space. Galleries of note from world over came ready to show and sell the best of their inventory. As impressive as the distinguished roster of artists were on display and for the perusal with option to purchase by the top 1%, Art Basel stood by its core as the premiere art fair of international grade and showcasing the best art that is “market tested” or “risk adverse”. If you were expecting to see ultra conceptual or avant-garde art to shake you to the core, this is the not the place or venue this year. There were some stand outs in the Berlin or South American galleries showing out of the box artworks but the majority are stalwarts to the art scene. It is the very reason why the haute cache that Art Basel brings is responsible for the most private jets clogging up the air traffic every first week of December in Miami. In this volatile economy that collectors expect the pedigree and a solid market performer in the queue of artworks at the hallowed grounds of modern and contemporary art. For the rest of us art lovers with lighter pockets, it is the pleasure of seeing a familiar face and being immersed in the lush landscape of the artworld. A plethora of programming were also provided like Art Salon, Art Public, Art Video, Art Film, etc. to keep the aficionados amused and possibly seeing beyond the prestige of big names. Perhaps to discover a “new face” and most of all to aspire the way Art Basel has always set itself up. A standard bearer of what one can aspire to, continue to look forward ahead and to challenge the future stars of the art world waiting in the wings.
written text by: Oscar A. Laluyan
photos by: Jamie Martinez