Coastal Contemporary took a tour to Art Basel Miami in 2019.
The most wonderful part was seeing the work by emerging artists way off the beaten path at some very remote satellite fairs. The thing that struck, was the idea of these reasonably priced artist's works eventually, possibly, 'sliding over' and into one of the larger, high end fairs - where the art then becomes something much more difficult to afford. The fairs are extraordinarily costly for galleries to participate in. The booth alone, runs into the tens of thousands to secure and that is before any marketing, lighting, insurance, travel, staffing or storage, etc...expenses. The way to be successful in that market, is consistency - to continue again and again. One or two tries does not cut the mustard.
As an artist myself, having previously exhibited in international fairs, I appreciated the opportunity to be represented by galleries that did take the financial risk. However, I learned that it is not for me - it burned me out. Galleries want to hit the note with collectors and keep that note. The artist must become somewhat of a machine and is expected to continue producing a consumer product. It can corner and prohibit the experimental growth and natural flow of the creator.
As a gallery owner, artist and collector, I still enjoy seeing gobs of vision, skill and genre under one roof, but the 'game' chisels away at the small, brick and mortar. It will be interesting to watch how the pandemic continues to shift the world of art collecting.