Art Basel Draws 95,000 Visitors, Makes ‘Market-Defying’ Sales

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Lehmann Maupin © Art Basel
Lehmann Maupin © Art Basel

The 47th edition of Art Basel in Basel closed on Sunday, June 19, 2016 amid reports of significant sales across all levels of the market, including many major sales by galleries exhibiting within the Unlimited sector. Attendance from international collectors and institutions was once again very strong, with new collectors from countries across Africa and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iran, Lebanon, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand, coming to the fair for the first time. In a more volatile market and political environment, this edition proved that there continues to be a strong demand for high-quality works when premier international galleries and leading collectors from across the world come together.

Cheim and Read © Art Basel
Cheim and Read © Art Basel

This year’s edition received widespread praise for its strong booth presentations and for the powerful artistic positions, many poignantly responding to the current socio-political situation within Europe and further afield. The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, brought together 286 premier galleries from 33 countries, presenting the very best contemporary and historical material by around 4,000 artists. This year saw a strong list of galleries participating in the show for the first time, including: Johan Berggren Gallery (Malmö), Carroll / Fletcher (London), Grimm (Amsterdam), Maisterravalbuena (Madrid), Sprovieri (London), Galeria Stereo (Warsaw) and Waldburger Wouters (Brussels) from Europe; Bergamin & Gomide (São Paulo), Corbett vs. Dempsey (Chicago), Derek Eller Gallery (New York), Foxy Production (New York), Moran Bondaroff (Los Angeles), Pace/MacGill Gallery (New York), Simone Subal Gallery (New York), ULAE (Bay Shore) and Van Doren Waxter (New York) from the Americas; and Selma Feriani Gallery (Sidi Bou Said) from Africa.

Art Basel 2016 attracted an attendance of 95,000 across the six show days. Demonstrating its position as the central meeting point for the international art world, artists in attendance at this year’s Art Basel show included: Davide Balula, Hans Op de Beeck, AA Bronson, Tracey Emin, Zhang Enli, Zeng Fanzhi, Cao Fei, Alfredo Jaar, Christian Jankowski, Alison Knowles, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Michael Landy, Jonathan Monk, Oscar Murillo, Pope.L, Robin Rhode, James Turrell, Haegue Yang, Ding Yi and Samson Young.

Leading private collectors from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa attended this year, as well as representatives from over 300 distinguished museums and institutions, including: The Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; and The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.

Bernard Jacobson Gallery © Art Basel
Bernard Jacobson Gallery © Art Basel

During the show, Art Basel announced that it will be partnering with UBS to commission a comprehensive new annual art market report. The new ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ will be an objective and independent study authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew and her Dublin-based research and consulting firm Arts Economics. Covering the main macro-economic trends and delivering fundamental data on the art market as a whole, the first ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ will be published in March 2017 to coincide with Art Basel’s Hong Kong show. The announcement of this new report came alongside Art Basel’s extension of its 22-year partnership with UBS, Art Basel’s global Lead Partner.

Galleries exhibiting within all sectors of Art Basel were delighted to express their enthusiasm about this year’s show:

‘This has been a very successful fair for us, and we were impressed with the number of high quality international collectors who attended this year. We sold work by George Condo, Andreas Gursky, Jenny Holzer, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Frank Stella and Rosemarie Trockel, placing works with prominent collections across Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia.’ Philomene Magers, Co-owner, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London, Los Angeles

‘An extraordinary fair; where desperation was replaced by inspiration. Yes, we had many sales, more than 80% of the work we brought, but more importantly, these were sales we felt proud of…to passionate collectors, both old and new.’ Marc Glimcher, President, Pace, New York, London, Beijing, Hong Kong

‘The level of excellence at Art Basel never fails to be breathtaking. I feel the fair is constantly upgrading and improving, which seems impossible when it is already the world’s premier fair!’ Maureen Paley, Founder Director, Maureen Paley, London

‘Although we felt interest before the fair was as high as in previous years, we came to the fair this year with some mixed feelings. After the first few months of 2016, when the art market hadn’t lived its best moment, we were delighted to see such a strong interest in the works we brought to the fair. This year collectors made very quick decisions when it concerned important art works. Art Basel was, once again, a very successful fair for us.’ Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder & Director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Paris

‘Art Basel is the most important moment in the art world calendar, and the quality of collectors in attendance this year once again proves this point. We always put a lot of effort into gathering our best work to bring to the fair, but this year in particular the quality of the work on show and the collectors present has been outstanding.’ Fernando Mignoni, Director, Galeria Elvira Gonzalez, Madrid

‘Art Basel 2016 has been the highest grossing fair in the history of the gallery with strong sales to museums and private individuals.’ Glenn Scott Wright, Co-Director, Victoria Miro, London ‘The audience here has not shied away from difficult work. This year we have seen a very diverse, international crowd, with many using Art Basel as their hub to then also see events taking place at the Tate and Manifesta.’ Ana Castella, Director, joségarcía ,mx, Mexico City

‘Art Basel has defied the markets and brought us huge success once again – nothing beats the indefatigable spirit of Art Basel!’ Iwan Wirth, President and co-Founder, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, New York, Los Angeles, London, Somerset

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