Posted on: January 21, 2024 Posted by: diasporadigital Comments: 0

Art Basel Miami Beach 2023 dominated the city in the first week of December, accompanied by various other art fairs, events, panels, parties, and people.

This year’s fair was the 20th and it has grown bigger (with 79,000 attendees, according to organizers) and more diverse over the years.

When ABMB began, Black attendees, artists and gallerists were few and far between. This year, it was hard to turn around without spotting someone Black. Out of the 277 participating galleries, approximately six were Black-owned based on an unofficial count. (ABMB says it only records galleries by country of origin, not race.) Additional Black-owned art galleries took part in the various other fairs happening concurrently, including Untitled, NADA, and Scope just to name a few. There were also fairs exclusively focused on galleries and artists of color, like Prizm and the AfriKin Art Fair, among others.  

If you’re familiar with Black owned galleries, you might know about Brockman, considered. 

America’s first major gallery run by Black artists for Black artists and artists of color. At ABMB, a retrospective paid tribute to the Los Angeles Gallery founded in 1967 by Alonzo Davis and Dale Brockman Davis. “Brockman Days: 1967-1990” was organized by Franklin Parrasch and Parrasch Heijnen galleries with artwork by about two dozen Black artists that the brothers showed over the years including David Hammons, Maren Hassinger, Romare Bearden, and John Outterbridge.

According to Artnet News, Black artists had significant sales at ABMB. Jeffrey Deitch “placed” a $6.5 million Barkley Hendricks painting, David Zwirner sold a painting by Noah Davis for $1.6 million, and Hauser + Wirth reported the sale of a Henry Taylor painting for $1 million.

The week was packed with celebrations for artists of color, leaving little time to do and see everything. For those in Miami there is a great Harlem Renaissance exhibit at the Wolfsonnian, the Perez Art Museum’s permanent collection has so many amazing artists of color, as does the private collections of the Rubells, which is open to the public and Craig Robbins, which is office based.

My week got off to an exciting start with a talk by Hank Willis Thomas at the Betsy Hotel, known as the Art Hotel, and came to a close with me speaking on a panel organized by CADA at the Art Deco Museum on Sunday. Both events were part of the Art of Black Miami, which was initially developed by curator, Ludlow Bailey to create more national and international opportunities for the Black visual arts community in South Florida.

Julie Walker is an award-winning journalist who covers a diverse range of topics that include art. She graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in art history and political science. Julie Walker has covered the black art present at Art Basel Miami Beach since 2004.

A report by Julie Walker (@jwalkreporter).

SOURCE: Ludlow Bailey.