Art Basel, the world’s largest modern and contemporary art fair, hired Noah Horowitz as director of the Americas to lure more buyers from Dallas to Rio de Janeiro.
The newly created position will involve running Art Basel’s Miami Beach show in Florida in December and cultivating relationships with galleries, collectors, artists and museums in North and South America, the fair said Tuesday in a statement.
Art collectors are turning to fairs as auction prices for contemporary works reach records. The 15 major fairs tracked by Skate’s, a New York-based art market researcher, drew more than 400,000 visitors in the second quarter, up 8.8 percent from a year earlier. Art Basel, with editions in the U.S. and Hong Kong as well as Europe, is the global market’s main trade gathering. Its 46th edition in Switzerland in June featured $3.4 billion of art and lured 98,000 people, including billionaires Steven A. Cohen and Dan Loeb.
“There are so many new collectors popping up in places like Dallas, Rio, Sao Paulo and Mexico City,” Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s director since 2007, said in an interview.
Horowitz’s job, which starts in August, will be to “work these two continents on a daily basis,” Spiegler said. “The galleries who are in our halls will always be happy to see more collectors coming through.”
Horowitz arrives from the Armory Show in New York, where he was executive director. He oversaw the fair’s redesign and helped reverse the exodus of key galleries in recent years.
Art Basel Miami Beach, with more than 250 exhibitors, has no trouble attracting participants as the biggest and most prestigious contemporary fair in the U.S. Fashion, design and luxury brands piggyback on the annual event.
As a regional director, the 35-year-old Horowitz said his approach will be “very sober and calculated.”
There are “many institutions of all shapes and sizes in our own backyard in the United States,” he said in an interview. “People who are running these institutions play a big role. They are very active buyers even though they may not be on the international radar.”