• Market
  • Jun 15, 2016

Art Basel in Basel, 2016: Variable Skies

Many of the 286 booths at the 2016 edition of Art Basel in Basel are black-and-white themed, with artworks to match the either/or décor. Everywhere else—in the quiet streets outside the convention center and in the art market at large—things were a palette of grays, albeit with bright spots still peaking through. Yet there was considerably less froth and frenzy at Art Basel in Basel than the previous two years. Nonetheless, many seven-figure sales were noted and plenty of artworks had been swamped out after the first day of sales. However, in a sign of the times, PR firms were sending out emails saying that certain galleries had sold “over half their booth”—rather than nearly everything within the first few hours, as was the case in white-hot 2015. So while business was still brisk in volume, the price-points were less stratospheric, reflecting the continued demand for modern and contemporary artworks and also a cautionary atmosphere as numerous real thunderstorms are visible on the near horizon, from the “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom next week to unsteady societies in emerging economies from Brazil and India to Turkey and Russia.

Art Basel in Basel is on view from June 16 – 19, 2016. 

HG Masters is editor at large of ArtAsiaPacific. 

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