"the most important website any stakeholder in the Canadian art market can access."
- Maggie rust, seven sided cube blog
The 41st edition of Art Basel, the premier and now middle-aged modern and contemporary art fair in the world, opened promptly at 11 a.m. today for a select gang of VIP guests, the first of a three-tiered, timed pecking order for various levels of the art elite. On the main floor of Hall 2.0, hosting the bluest of the blue-chip galleries, business was instantly brisk and happily upbeat in both tone and substance, a welcome change from the restrained, pessimistic mood of a year ago.
Though numerous observers have characterized the opening moments of Basel as a more dangerous version of Pamplona's running of the bulls, there were no bloody casualties among the collectors and art advisers this year. Still, noted Dallas contemporary collector and museum patron Howard Rachofsky dived for temporary refuge in New York’s Skarstedt Gallery. “There are too damn many people,” he complained. “So many bodies, you could hardly move.” Rachofsky, for his part, had the luxury of taking his time: he admitted he already had a “first reserve” on an undisclosed painting at the fair. “If you’ve got a great thing, it’s snapped up very quickly,” he said.