Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Noah Horowitz, the newly named Director Americas for Art Basel, was fresh from a trip to Bogotá, Basel, and London for Frieze, when we caught up with to hear his thoughts on the upcoming Miami Beach fair.
WHITEWALL: The state of the Armory Show when you started there was, as you’ve described it, murkier than it is now. How would you describe the state of Art Basel Miami Beach you’re entering this year?
NOAH HOROWITZ: My time at Basel has been very different largely because on the surface of this there’s really nothing that needs to be tweaked on the same level. Obviously, as any organization is, we’re always making adjustments and looking at what we can do to make it even better, and that will be a large part of what I do.
I’ve been in the fortunate position, since joining at the end of the summer, that all of the major decisions for the fair in December had been made. So my first four months are really a learning process for me to get to know our team and the huge number of constituents we touch, from regional VIP representatives that work for Basel, and a whole universe of galleries, the majority of whom I’m quite familiar with but certainly there are some that I’ve not worked with directly before to have that relationship.
WW: You’ve said that an element of the draw of this role is that it’s part of a greater international organization. What role do you see Miami playing as part of the trifecta of Miami, Hong Kong, and Basel?
NH: First and foremost is my excitement in leading the strongest fair in the Americas with Miami Beach. Also exciting is all the development we’re seeing recently in the museum and cultural infrastructure in Miami Beach, with people like Franklin Sirmans running PAMM and Ellen Salpeter coming to ICA Miami (which is breaking ground on a new building). It’s very exciting for me to be an ambassador of the Basel brand in the Americas and feed that back into Basel and Hong Kong and see how we can engage more as a community in the regions I serve.
WW: What regions in the Americas are you looking to focus on and cultivate? Such as the Midwest or Canada or South America?
NH: I’m able to do a lot more outreach on behalf of the Basel organization to all these regional art market hubs, from Dallas, to Kansas city, to Detroit, Seattle, Vancouver, into Mexico . . . I was in Bogotá, which was totally fascinating and I met all these amazing artists and gallerists. There were collectors from Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina. You have to understand that for that community Miami is so fundamentally important to what they do, it’s the pinnacle of their year.
The other thing that we’re seeing generally is a bit of a shift away from the traditionally dominant market centers. Clearly, the bigger auction sales are still predominantly happening in London, New York, Hong Kong. But we are seeing a shift away from that as well, where you have these thriving regional hubs with art schools, galleries, museums, and not-for-profits, and I’m very committed to learning about and working with our organization to have a strong hand in developing and feeding all of that into what we’re doing in Miami and beyond.
WW: Why is it important for a fair like Art Basel Miami Beach to have relationships with these regional hubs, institutions, and not-for-profits?
NH: We want Miami to be an attractive place for them to come and take part in. I don’t think you can ever take anything totally for granted and assume that people will come to your fairs. We want it to be welcome and accommodating. One of the really neat things in Bogotá for me was being able to see Jose Roca, the director of FLORA ars+natura, a not-for-profit space in Bogotá. They are expanding into a building adjacent to their existing space. And the library in that building was funded through a Basel crowd-funding Kickstarter initiative a year ago. To see that on the ground was pretty amazing and a good indication of the audiences we touch and some of the creative ways we’re thinking about how we can draw on our reputational power and these different actors in the art world.