Courtesy of Art Basel.

MIAMI - Generalizing about the quality of the art and strength of sales at 260 different booths during Art Basel Miami Beach isn’t easy, nor is assessing the mood of thousands of different people who made their way through the aisles. But the consensus take on the fair’s 11th edition, which ended yesterday, was that it was solid if subdued – just as the take on the nightlife and event component of fair week was that it had achieved a new level of frenzy.

But subdued means different things to different people. For Robbie Antonio, an energetic and personable 35-year-old real estate developer from Manila who is amassing a major art collection, a slow year entails picking up a large, colorful Gilbert & George work from London’s White Cube Gallery, on the very first day of the fair.


Contemporary art collector Robbie Antonio.

“Normally I buy more things,” said Antonio, casually dressed in black and seated in the lobby of the W hotel. His collection includes Picasso, Murakami, Koons, Hirst, Cattalan and many more great names, and he cited Thaddeus Ropac as a favorite dealer.

Antonio has become a fixture on the fair circuit; he was already thinking about how to approach Art Basel Hong Kong in May. He even hits many of the satellite fairs that have grown up in the shadow of ABMB. “Art Miami was good, Scope was just OK,” he reported of his efforts to find exciting new talent. “It’s easy to get established artists. It’s harder toind emerging artists who’ll make a tremendous impact someday.”


Courtesy of Art Basel.

Back at the main fair, Antonio managed to commission a “door sculpture” from Ivan Navarro at Paul Kasmin Gallery, and toward the end of the visit he picked up an Olafur Eliasson work. And he was circling a metal sculpture by Anish Kapoor, but hadn’t committed yet – he wanted the version in blue, and that had already sold. Only black was left. Even as intense a collector as Antonio can console himself with a thought that others may have shared yesterday: These days there’s always another art fair just around the bend.

 





Tags:Art Fairs, Galleries, Contemporary Art, Miami, Interviews, Collections