Collectors Sound Off at the VIP Opening of Art Basel Miami Beach 2023

Ramez Qamer, Jeff Magid, Josh Abraham, and Ron Harrar give their thoughts on this year's offerings in Magic City.

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 06: A view of the venue during the Art Basel Miami Beach VIP Preview 2023 at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 06, 2023 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

During Art Basel Miami Beach, the regular civilians attending the fair and the art dealers working at it develop two different ideas of what a celebrity is. While Cindy Crawford, Leo DiCaprio, Venus Williams, and Jared Leto were among the Hollywood types to roam through the halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, those selling the art on view were more eagle-eyed for the art collectors who might roll by and pick up a work. In between visits to booths, Artnet News chatted with a handful of these collectors to hear about their impressions of the fair and maybe what they bought. Here’s what we found.


Josh Abraham

Josh Abraham. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

I feel like [the fair] picked up in a way that’s unexpected. There’s a lot of energy; I’ve bought a couple things. I bought a Jo Messer from Moran Moran, and Reggie Burrows Hodges from Karma. I’m really interested in Ulala Imai’s work too—I have my eye on her. 


Jeff Magid

Jeff Magid. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

I bought something within the last hour, but it was not at the fair, it was at an auction [laughs]. But there’s something broken about the fair model. There’s a ton of great art, but it’s all sold before the fair starts, and then the things that aren’t sold in advance get priced much higher than there’s demand for.

It’s kind of sad because a lot of those artists are great, and everything about their work is great, and it should all be exciting, but for some reason their gallery decided to price them at unsellable price points. Something is broken about the fixed-price fair model. There’s tons of great art at this fair, but nothing I want to buy at the prices that are listed. 


Ramez Qamer

[This is the] second fair ever for me in Miami this year and with the froth off market, it felt a time when I could really engage in the art at the booths with more measure and thought. [I could] talk to dealers with a little more time and consideration. I thought it was worth coming down to see the work in person instead of buying off a barrage of PDFs. I was particularly excited to see Cynthia Talmadge’s work at 56 Henry, a group of Pointillist works reimagining the studio of Mary Pinchot Meyer. While I haven’t bought anything yet, I did find galleries happy to discuss the work more than they did last year.  

Equally enjoyable was being able to meet other collectors and friends I’ve met through Instagram. We found a spot to meet at the fair, made a few laps, and talked about the art.


Ron Harrar 

Ron Harrar. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

It’s much busier than last year and that’s a good thing. The market seems to be healthy. I’ve spoken to many galleries and they said that things are moving, which is a good sign for the market. Overall, things seem to be on the right track. 

I really loved the Lichtenstein at Gagosian, as well as their Katherine Bradford. There are great Robert Indianas at Waddington Custot, and I love the George Condo at Hauser & Wirth. But I haven’t bought anything yet. 


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