As Art Basel opened on Miami Beach, the standout feature was the influx of first-time exhibitors at the fair.
The annual edition of the Art Basel fair opened for a 2-day private viewing on Tuesday, before it opens for the general public on 2nd December. While the usual big names like David Zwirners were all present, the interesting thing was a new host of newcomers. Art Basel is known to have some strict rules for galleries and artists who wish to get a booth at the fair. However, this year, the committee decided to relax the rules in favor of bigger participation. Galleries were now no longer required to have a physical space in order to participate, as well as the minimum required age of a gallery was also lowered. The move was also believed to have been made to improve diversity at the fair, especially the participation of African galleries and exhibitors.
One of the new additions was First Floor Harare, a prominent gallery from Zimbabwe. The gallery will be exhibiting artist Troy Makaza, who blends painting and sculpting in his works. Marcus Gora, the co-founder of the gallery, said that Art Basel gives them a chance to interact with collectors and museums from North America. Kendra Jayne Patrick is another gallerist known for her exhibitions in New York. Her gallery is exhibiting Qualeasha Wood, whose artworks merge Black women and the Internet culture. These first-time exhibitors could be mostly found at the Nova section, which has booths for “weird and experimental” art.
The Miami Beach edition of Art Basel was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This partially explains the enthusiasm viewers and exhibitors both have for the fair this year. More exhibitors than ever are queuing up to display their works to the public. The hotels in Miami are reported to be jam-packed with travelers, with the rooms being in high demand despite soaring rent prices.