🌴 Art Basel Miami 2023: What Changed?

+ Marmolejo's Meteoric Rise in Asia + Miami's Art Scene: Subtle Yet Significant Changes + The Rise and Fall of Art Market Prices

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Welcome to the 841 new art lovers who joined last week.

Art in a Flash is a series from Frame&Flame that provides a concise roundup of the week's key market shifts, as well as reviews of past auction performances and upcoming lots, to identify artists whose markets are 'heating up.'

This week’s Art in a Flash includes:

  • 📈 Heating Up: Tania Marmolejo's unique blend of Scandinavian and Caribbean influences in her emotive, large-scale portraits is captivating the global art market, particularly in Asia.

  • 💭 Your Questions Answered: Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 witnesses a shift towards a more contemplative, traditional art market, with changes in presales, collector behaviors, and a focus on art over marketing activations.

  • 🔗 Market Stories: NADA Miami's successful opening, Vanessa German's creative resilience at Untitled Art Fair, upcoming Artgenève under new direction, and significant developments in galleries and art institutions worldwide.

Read Time 05 minutes

📈 Heating Up

Tania Marmolejo, I Always Come Back Here (2020)

🤔 What you need to know: Tania Marmolejo, an artist of Scandinavian and Caribbean descent, brings a unique fusion of cultures to her art. Born in 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, she honed her skills in Norway, the Dominican Republic, and at Parsons School of Design in New York. Marmolejo's journey from a graphic designer and illustrator to a celebrated fine artist is a tale of diverse influences. Her signature large-scale portraits of women, often marked by emotive, wide-eyed expressions, reflect a blend of her animation background and a deep exploration of her mixed heritage. Marmolejo's art navigates the crossroads of Asian erotic paintings, German and Flemish Renaissance, and Scandinavian minimalism, creating a contemporary tapestry of styles that speaks to issues of gender and identity.

Recent career milestone: Marmolejo's market appeal has seen a remarkable surge, particularly in Asia. Her piece "I Always Come Back Here" fetched a then-record price at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2020. Following this, her works like "Let the Hurricane In" and "Dreams of Escape" shattered auction estimates, signaling her rising prominence in the global art market. Most notably, her solo exhibition "Anacaona’s Revenge" in Korea brought her into the spotlight, with her portraits inspired by Caribbean female empowerment resonating strongly with Asian collectors. This acclaim is not just confined to auctions; her primary market sales, such as the sold-out show at Villazan in Madrid, further cement her status as an artist to watch.

The chart indicates if the artist's sales are rising because of selling more art or due to higher prices for each piece.

The chart displays yearly changes in the artist's average sale prices, avoiding distortion from unusually high or low valued sales.

The chart shows how well the artist's works are selling compared to their estimated prices, indicating market demand.

The chart reveals whether the artist's sales are mostly from a few expensive works or many cheaper ones over the last years.

The artist's auction history gives a detailed view of their place in the art market, highlighting regional trends and preferences.

The artist's auction history offers a detailed understanding of their specific art market, presenting a broad view of their market performance.

The comparison shows how the artist's average top sale prices stack up against those of the top 5 similar artists.

😍 Why I Like It: Marmolejo's work is a captivating blend of historical depth and contemporary flair. Her ability to intertwine her diverse cultural background with modern themes is remarkable. The emotive quality of her portraits, often brimming with a sense of enigma and introspection, engages viewers on a deeply personal level. The influence of her animation background is evident in the stylized, character-driven elements of her work, offering a fresh perspective in the realm of fine art. Her exploration of gender and identity through these expressive portraits is not only visually striking but also intellectually stimulating. Marmolejo's art is a vibrant, living tapestry of her rich heritage and creative prowess, making it a fascinating subject for both art lovers and cultural commentators.

💭 Your Questions Answered

This week, we delve into the evolving landscape of the art world, particularly focusing on Art Basel Miami Beach 2023. The fair has always been a pulse point for contemporary art, but this year, we witnessed a new era unfolding, marked by several significant shifts.

The core question we're exploring is: What major changes were observed at Art Basel Miami Beach this year compared to previous editions?

Atmosphere during Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair 2023

Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 presented a different scene, shaped by the art market's contraction and various global factors. The frenetic energy and speculative rush of previous years gave way to a more subdued, contemplative atmosphere. Collectors engaged more deeply with dealers, showing a renewed interest in the intrinsic qualities of the artworks over their investment value. This change harkens back to a more traditional art market ethos reminiscent of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Presales and reserves, a common practice where galleries sell or reserve artworks before the fair opens, saw a notable decrease. Previously, up to 50% of artworks in a booth might be presold, but this year, that number dropped to around 25%. This reduction in presales created a more dynamic environment for collectors attending the fair, offering them a wider selection of available works.

Another key shift was in the selling process itself. Sales took longer to close, reflecting a more deliberate and thoughtful approach by collectors. This slower pace, though challenging for business, allowed for richer dialogues about art and a deeper understanding of the works on display.

Interestingly, the price ceiling for impulse purchases changed. Transactions involving immediate buying decisions occurred at lower price points than in past years. High-value sales, exceeding $1 million, required more time and consideration, indicating a more cautious approach by collectors.

Space constraints emerged as a practical concern for collectors. With the proliferation of art fairs and auctions, many collectors are finding themselves running out of space to display new acquisitions. This has led to a more selective purchasing behavior, with a focus on acquiring artworks that can be displayed and enjoyed in their living spaces, rather than simply stored away.

Finally, a shift in the fair's atmosphere was noted. In previous years, "activations" - marketing events often linked to fashion or luxury brands - were a dominant feature. This year, however, there was a noticeable reduction in such events, signaling a return to a focus on art for art's sake.

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🔗 Market Stories

  • 🌴 NADA Miami kicked off Miami Art Week with a bang, boasting several sold-out booths on its first day, December 5. Notably, it's the first time the fair has opened ahead of Art Basel Miami Beach, marking a new precedent.

  • 🖼 Artist Vanessa German turned a mishap into a moment of creativity at Untitled Art Fair. After one of her sculptures suffered damage during transit, she spontaneously performed at Nil Gallery’s booth, showcasing her resilience and adaptability.

  • 💼 The upcoming 12th edition of Artgenève is set to open on January 25, 2024, at Palexpo Geneva. Under Charlotte Diwan's new direction, esteemed galleries like Almine Rech, Thaddeus Ropac, Nathalie Obadia, and Hauser & Wirth will participate, among roughly 70 others.

  • 🌏 The Qatar Investment Authority is being eyed as a potential investor for a minority stake in Sotheby’s. This development follows Patrick Drahi's announcement of selling assets to alleviate debts from his telecoms group Altice.

  • 🚀 Phillips is ramping up its presence in Asia, appointing Meiling Lee as the new head of the 20th century and contemporary art department. This move is part of a broader expansion in Hong Kong, signaling the company's commitment to the region.

  • 🎨 The art world is abuzz with new gallery and artist partnerships. Kasmin welcomes Alexander Harrison, White Cube now oversees Lygia Pape’s estate, and Charisee Pearlina Weston joins Patron.

  • ⚽ OOF Gallery in London, known for its unique focus on football-themed art, is offering a portion of its space near the Tottenham Hotspur stadium as subsidized studios from January. The gallery emphasizes that artists of all interests are welcome to apply.

  • 🏆 Jesse Darling has been honored with the 2023 Turner Prize, becoming the first transgender artist to win the UK's most prestigious contemporary art award. This groundbreaking achievement was celebrated alongside other talented finalists.

  • 🔚 The Zabludowicz Collection's London space is set to close after 16 years, amidst scrutiny over the founders' political affiliations. However, its New York location and Finnish residency program will continue to operate, ensuring ongoing contributions to the art world.

  • 🤖 A revised lawsuit has been filed against Midjourney Inc, DeviantArt Inc, Stability A.I., and now Runway A.I. by a group of artists. This action comes after a federal judge partially dismissed their initial claims of alleged infringement.

  • 🎨 Over 200 artworks formerly owned by art advisor Lisa Schiff might hit the auction block at Phillips next year. This potential sale is aimed at settling Schiff’s creditors' claims, totaling $1.8 million in two civil lawsuits alleging fraud.

  • 📌 Lévy Gorvy Dyan gallery in New York became the target of a deceptive act, with fake apology letters posted on its windows. The incident mimicked the gallery's real statement of support for Israel, stirring up controversy in the art community.

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📚 What I’m Reading

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