It seemed as if the number of attendees on the first VIP day of the “Art Basel” fair in Switzerland surprised almost everyone.
“There were days when no one wanted to come and there were days when we felt like no one was going to be here, but we have to do it anyway,” says Marc Glimcher, president of Megabase.
It was only by last week, Glimcher said, “I felt the show was going to be good.”
Known as the world’s most prestigious art gallery, Art Basel boasts 272 galleries selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of artwork to the world’s ultra-rich.
During normal years, anticipation and hype lead to a (high-end) crowd at the opening, as collectors rush to their favorite departments to buy them before they are snatched away by someone else.
That rush was decimated in 2020, due to the complete cancellation of the exhibition, which can be attended in person, and moved to online preview rooms.
Then the 2021 edition was postponed until September. Since then, many galleries have cautiously re-entered the art market, but none have matched the level – or degree of the exhibit – enjoyed by Art Basel.
This means that the art world has had to wait more than two years for the Swiss gallery to bring together the high-quality, high-priced artworks to provide a true test of the market.