VIPs keep market afloat at Art Basel in Miami Beach
December 5, 2023
Frank Stella’s first ever Black Painting could smash record $45m at Art Basel Miami Beach
December 5, 2023
VIPs keep market afloat at Art Basel in Miami Beach
December 5, 2023
Frank Stella’s first ever Black Painting could smash record $45m at Art Basel Miami Beach
December 5, 2023

Never underestimate the importance of good timing, especially during the frenzy of Miami Art Week. The New Art Dealers Alliance (Nada) took this lesson to heart for the 2023 edition of its annual fair in the Magic City—and it has paid off for exhibitors.

After nearly 15 years of opening its expo towards the end of the week, Nada shifted this latest iteration’s debut to Tuesday (5 December). With VIPs eligible to enter from 10am, the fair went from being among the last of the week to go live to being the very first. (The Untitled Art fair, which began welcoming VIPs at noon on the same day in Miami Beach, came in second by two hours.)

Management cleared out all its works by Katie Hector (including Letting Go with Love, 2023)

‘Open earlier, close earlier’

“In the early days, from about 2003 to 2008, we opened before Basel and stayed open until Sunday,” says Heather Hubbs, the executive director of Nada. Lately, she adds, the predominant feedback from the organisation’s members “has been ‘open earlier, close earlier. Sunday is a wash’”, particularly as more and more collectors have begun booking shorter trips to Miami than in the pre-Covid era.

What elevates Nada’s rescheduling from logistical minutiae to legitimate news is the ripple effect it has had on attendance and commerce, according to dealers.

“It used to be that everyone would start somewhere else and say, ‘Eh, maybe I’ll go to Nada for an hour,’” says Anton Svyatsky, the founder of Management, a gallery based in New York’s Chinatown neighbourhood. “Now they come here first.”

Svyatsky believes Nada’s move contributed to his gallery’s success with early-bird buyers. Management had sold out its stand of large bleach-on-fabric-dye portraits of vacant-eyed internet models by the US artist Katie Hector, priced at $10,000 each, by early afternoon on Tuesday (along with placing two smaller works not on view from the same series, at $6,000 each).

Nor was the gallery alone in benefiting, particularly among the New York contingent. Rachel Uffner Gallery found buyers for 14 works by eight different artists on Nada Miami’s preview day, ranging from a trio of paintings by the Miami-based artist Bernadette Despujols for as much as $56,000, to a work by Anna Jung Seo for $3,800. First-time exhibitor Polina Berlin Gallery sold out its stand of 12 paintings by the artists Tamo Jugeli ($12,500 each) and Carrie Rudd ($4,200 to $12,500 each). Dimin gallery also placed several works by mid-afternoon on Tuesday, headlined by Erik Dalzen’s 8ft-high mixed-media sculpture Perpetual Amnesia (2023), which sold to a New York collector for between $15,000 and $20,000.

Yet the first-mover advantage is only half the value of Nada’s new opening date. “It’s a good idea, having the long tail,” the dealer Tara Downs told The Art Newspaper. The extra time amplifies Nada’s capacity for highlighting what she calls “sleeper stars”: artists who enjoy an unexpected surge in organic interest from an open-minded crowd given time to digest what they saw early in the week.

Still, to Louis Shannon, the founder of Entrance gallery and a returning exhibitor, the ultimate value of Nada’s rescheduling is saving collectors from themselves. “They’ll end up holding out otherwise,” he says of those content to wait until Thursday or Friday to explore the fair. “Then Saturday comes, and they’ve missed the train.”

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