A British expo group bought the U.S. art fair conglomerate Art Miami Group.
The 2018 edition of Art Miami. Photo courtesy the Art Miami Group.
The art fair landscape has shifted in the last year, both expanding and contracting. Frieze opened a new fair in Los Angeles, while Art Basel’s parent company, MCH Group, pivoted from its plan to acquire regional fairs, selling off annual expos such as Art Düsseldorf and Art SG.
Now, a new deal will fold the Art Miami Group—which operates five regional fairs in Florida and New York—into Informa Markets, a British expo firm that operates more than 500 events and exhibitions around the world, with a focus on luxury trade shows. The fairs in the Art Miami Group may not be powerhouse shows—they include Aqua Art Miami and Art New York, which function mostly as satellites to larger fairs—but the deal is the latest response to a changing fair system, and the buying classes becoming more globalized.
The terms of the deal were not discussed in the artnet News story about the acquisition. But Art Miami founder Nick Korniloff was optimistic about being folded into Informa, a behemoth with 56 offices globally. Last year the company had £2.4 billion ($3 billion) in revenue.
“It’s a bold and very positive step for us,” Korniloff told artnet News. He added that the new owners informed him none of the fairs in its portfolio (which also includes Context, Art Wynwood, and Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary) will be shuttered as a result of the deal.
Clare McAndrew, the founder of Arts Economics and the author of the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, said the scope of its new ownership could raise the profile of the Art Miami Group’s fairs in the eyes of bigger galleries looking to give their expos a shot. She told artnet News: “A company like this with broad interests could be quite a good prospect for new or different exhibitors if it can show it has global outreach into new markets and new pools of buyers.”