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New Miami Art Fair Warms Up Despite Freeze

New Miami Art Fair Warms Up Despite Freeze

Enrique Gomez de Molina's Pandemonium (2009), which follows in the Cuban artist's family tradition of taxidermy, was on offer at Miami's Spinello Gallery for $12,500. Two other works by the artist found buyers. Courtesy Spinello Gallery

ARTINFO

January 15, 2010

MIAMI—“Better than expected” was the resounding refrain among exhibitors as the first edition of the Miami International Art Fair (MIA) drew to a close on Sunday, Jan. 10, when attendance spiked, bringing the official count for the fair, which opened Jan. 6, to 17,000 visitors. Expectations are lower in the current economic climate, especially for a new venture, but attendance was further affected by unseasonably low temperatures that nearly froze Florida and kept some locals at home.

“It’s a starting fair, so you have to trust that it will get better in the future,” said Caridad Botella, director of the Amsterdam-based Witzenhausen Gallery, which opened a New York branch last September. So Botella is familiar with the need for “time to get established as a name,” and she already plans to return to the fair next year. She noted that she was hoping to close deals next weekend at Art Palm Beach on the $22,000 nine-canvas grid Pixel Ate Us (2006) and vast $28,000 untitled diptych (2008) by Federico Junca Acebedo, a Colombian painter based in Miami who composes anthropomorphic figures by overlapping organic shapes.

Witzenhausen, along with half of MIA’s 80 exhibitors, will be showing similar wares at Art Palm Beach (formerly Palm Beach3), also run by art-fair pioneers David and Lee Ann Lester through their company International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE). The Lesters founded Art Miami almost two decades ago, when it was held during the same time slot in the first weekend of January. They sold that fair in 1999, before Art Basel came to town and sapped support for Art Miami, eventually convincing its next organizers to move up a month to join the slew of smaller fairs that have latched onto the juggernaut’s coattails.


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