Basel Bellwether: No Buying Sprees, but Not Bleak

In what may be a bellwether for Art Basel Miami Beach, another of the world's largest art fairs, London's Frieze Art Fair, closed this Sunday and reported sales that were slow, but higher than expected, according to The Telegraph.

[Though] many well-known collectors were absent from the throng of buyers that normally queue for entry on the first day, sales "exceeded expectations" according to the fair's organisers.

Lisson Gallery sold "millions of pounds" worth of art by Anish Kapoor, Shirazeh Houshiary and Julian Opie. Hauser & Wirth sold big-ticket items by Indian artists Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher in the £233,000 to £350,000 range, making it their "best Frieze ever", they said.

Though Bloomberg news says that buyers didn't feel pressure to go on an opening day buying spree.

"People are shell-shocked by the world economy,'' said New York gallerist Marianne Boesky, who had a booth at the five-day fair, which ended yesterday. "People are buying but they're taking it slowly and not rushing into things.''

Everyone already expected Basel to be a bit more subdued this year due to the economy, but if this is an indication it won't be a total bust.

--Kyle Munzenrieder

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