“Galleries are open every day, and their websites are online all the time,” Spiegler noted. “What an art fair does is focus attention on a particular group of galleries from an enormous number of collectors. An Art Basel booth is a reason to talk to a collector again, it’s a trigger for conversation.” That seemed to hold, even for those who couldn’t make it to the event in person: Before the fair even opened, Spiegler recalled one of the most important gallerists in England telling him they were already selling work to collectors who couldn’t make it because they didn’t want to get beaten out by those who attended the expo in person.
Those triggers for sales will be taking place primarily in person and at a furious pace through the end of the year, with major fair weeks in London and Paris just around the corner. When asked how plans for Art Basel’s Miami Beach fair in December were coming together, Spiegler noted the good news, delivered on day one of the VIP previews in Basel: The U.S. would be relaxing its travel restrictions on vaccinated travelers from many destinations from November onwards.
“Within an hour of that being announced, several European galleries who had previously told me that they couldn’t do the show in Miami were asking if they could uncancel, if ‘uncancel’ is a word…” he laughed. With the pandemic’s effects still reverberating, it certainly seems like a neologism we might need. After all, the next Art Basel in Basel is only nine months away—who knows what changes the art world might experience by then?