Best Art Trend - 2012
We have to admit to feeling some skepticism when Art Miami director Nick Korniloff announced a new stand-alone fair this past February so quickly on the tails of Art Basel. After all, the economy is stale, and who else besides the one-percenters can afford to buy art? But to everyone's surprise, when Art Wynwood opened on Presidents' Day weekend in midtown Miami during one of the busiest weeks of the season, the gambit paid off. Korniloff, who has steered the once-fading Art Miami back to relevancy during December art week, saw an opportunity in Wynwood. He believed he could create an international fair with homegrown appeal and persuaded local cultural leaders and institutions to back him. The inaugural edition of Art Wynwood featured 50 galleries from 13 countries, with nearly a quarter of the roster culled from Wynwood spaces. Decidedly edgier than its more sedate progenitor Art Miami, Art Wynwood boasted photography, painting, sculpture, video, installation, urban street art, and every conceivable contemporary genre by more than 500 international artists. It was held at Art Miami's sprawling 100,000-square-foot tent pavilion, where a crowd of about 5,000 collectors and culture vultures attended the event's VIP preview. More impressive, Coral Gables' Cernuda Arte reported $400,000 in sales during the five-day confab, while New York-based Westwood Gallery and London's Waterhouse & Dodd each saw their coffers enriched by transactions exceeding six figures. Not only did most of the participant local galleries boast windfall sales for undisclosed amounts, but also nearly every gallery and artist's studio in the neighborhood was overrun by close to 24,000 attendees. While some might scoff at Korniloff's assertion that Wynwood is challenging New York, local dealers' spiking sales at non-Basel fairs can only leave observers feeling optimistic about Miami's art future.