Art Basel Opens to Crowds and Champagne

Eric Fischl's new paintings uncannily capture how people interact with art, so much so that many of the viewers of his paintings unconsciously echoed the stances and expressions of those depicted. Jennifer Landes photos

     Those who did not make it to Art Basel Miami Beach's vernissage on Wedenesday night flocked to the fair on Thursday for its public opening. Long lines at the valet snaked down the street and inside was a constant hum of people, chatter, and the chimes and pings of smart phone communication.

     The fair had an impressive roster of speakers, including afternoon salons with speakers such as conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth with Josh Baer, a long time gallerist and dealer, and installation artist Olafur Eliasson with Klaus Biesenbach, a P.S. Museum of Modern Art Curator.

   Artists who have worked or have been associated with the East End were much in evidence throughout the fair, including a new series by Eric Fischl that marked a return to his more native themes, this time, a group of paintings at Mary Boone of people looking at art in a gallery setting.

Man-made grassy knolls inside the fair made for a park-like atmosphere and viewers took time out there to relax.
Mr. Eliasson, left, was there with his "Little Sun" project, a lamp he designed for parts of the world without electricity that emits a bright light to read by that is rechargable from the sun for three years. Mr. Biesenbach wore one around his neck.
The "Little Sun" in its box.
Larry Gagosian held court in his booth with Richard Prince paintings in the background.
Tripoli Patterson, who has a Southampton gallery, and Yung Jake, an artist and his brother, stopped for a photo outside the Mary Boone booth. Artwork by Joe Zucker, who was Yung Jake's basketball coach at the Bridgehampton school, can be seen in the backbground.
New artwork by East Hampton's Barbara Kruger at Mary Boone.
"Wood burl" printing, a new process adopted by Chuck Close, was featured at the Two Palms Press booth.
Louis Vuitton pet carriers were just some of the lavish accessories sported at the fair.
Jeff Koons's egg-shaped present had a prime spot, with a John Currin painting in the background, at the Gagosian booth.