The Tables and Chairs of Art Basel Miami Beach 2011

At home, galleries have a multitude of ways to define their identities, to signal their agendas. They pick their neighborhood and design the layout of their space. Tall front desk or short front desk? Opaque or clear windows? Guestbook or no guestbook? A front buzzer? (Peter Schjeldahl once devoted a large section of an article solely to the doors at Mary Boone’s SoHo gallery.)

At art fairs, they have fewer options. They can wrap the walls of their booth with art (as Boone and L&M did this year at Art Basel), they can lay down carpeting (like Rosenfeld and Nolan) or–if they are feeling particularly adventurous–they can build a maze of walls, as UNTITLED did. Ultimately, though, they are left with an anonymous rectangular space and some white walls. How does one stand out?

With a table and chairs.

With the exception of a few brave dealers who opted to stand throughout the fair, a table and a few chairs are essential for conducting business. The days are long, and sometimes a deal is best discussed sitting down. In the slide show above, Gallerist takes a look at some of the most elegant, creative and impressive seating arrangements at this year’s Art Basel.

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