A Quick Report From Art Basel; Mood is Subdued

The two words coming out of this year’s Art Basel Miami and its nineteen satellite fairs are ‘sober’ and ‘subdued.’ That’s not mere arts and culture conjecture–one of those subliminal wisps of mood and tremolo that occasionally get the better of journalists and critics. (Think: This year is about less. This year artists are saying goodbye to beauty. Painting is back.)

The Observer had a chance to speak with Renaud Proch, director of The Project, the 57th street gallery. This year The Project (booth C21 in the Miami Beach Convention Center for those following from home) is showing the work of Glenn Kaino, Julie Mehretu, and Paul Pfeiffer. More accurately, the gallery is showing a work by each of three artists, having downscaled since last year’s fair. Which brings us to our first question…

Observer: How is business in Miami?

Proch: Business has been good, actually. Slower than last year, which is what we expected and why we brought three works with us as opposed to the larger number we usually show at this fair. That turned out to be a good decision.

What are dealers saying?

Proch: I haven’t had the chance to process, really, what everybody is saying. The general feeling is that the pace is slower than past years. That’s something that everyone can agree on. … Of the collectors who are here this year looking at work, they’re generally serious collectors interested in high-quality work.

What are the parties like this year?

Proch: I’m not a huge fan of the party circuit in Miami. I don’t know if you are going to quote me as being a party-pooper. This is a business. We can still have fun but let’s focus on working in the booths.

In the past some dealers have complained that – you know – ‘Miami is too much’. Is there a sense of a necessary market corrective?

Proch: God, did they ever get served. A Quick Report From Art Basel; Mood is Subdued