Whether you’re just starting to buy art or you’re looking to add to an existing collection, don’t let momentary passion run away with your common sense. Before you venture into a fair as big and expensive as Art Basel Miami Beach, research the galleries that represent the artists that interest you. Look up recent sales records for the works.
And don’t think you can just wander around and hit on the next big thing unless you are already pretty savvy about collecting — pretty much everyone else who walks in on opening day has experience as a collector and knows the majority of dealers and their stable of artists.
That said, both Basel and the many satellite fairs offer a broad range of styles and price points. Make a target list ahead of time and also be open to the unexpected. My advice this year: Keep an eye out for artists from South Asia, Turkey and the Middle East, hotbeds of activity and emerging art.
Here are recommendations for every wallet.
My picks for the top end of the market are fairly conservative — tried-and-true artists whose work has already stood the test of time. For me, they are also intellectually compelling and steady in their long practices, which means they can anchor any important collection. It’s impossible to pin down to just a few, and I long to include superstars such as Ed Ruscha, Louise Bourgeois and Ellsworth Kelly. But they, like so many blue-chip artists, will be out of reach for all but a small number of people.
Look for multiples and photography by some of the better-known artists and rising stars. Good dealers to check out are: Pace Prints, Mixografia, Tandem Press, Yancey Richardson, Mary Ryan, Gemini GEL and Poligrafa Obra Grafica. Many can be found during Basel week at the INK fair, which specializes in multiples. Miami’s best galleries
My favorite local spot for new talent is Locust Projects, whose director has a great eye; Cannonball is another good source. And just opened in Wynwood is Kowal + Odermatt Projects, concentrating on artist residencies.
Mario Algaze (at Spencer Throckmorton), Maria Martinez Canas (Fred Snitzer), Naomi Fischer (Fred Snitzer), Jim Drain (Greene Naftali), Kate Gilmore (David Castillo), Bhakti Baxter (Gallery Diet), Mette Tommerup (Emerson Dorsch Gallery), Brookhart Jonquil (Emerson Dorsch Gallery), Lynn Gelfman (Alejandra von Hartz) and Jorge Pantoja (Carol Jazzar).