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Thursday, 25 June 2015 01:06

At Art Basel, A Powerful Jury Controls the Market

The fair draws about 92,000 visitors to its six days of connoisseurship, selling and schmoozing. The fair draws about 92,000 visitors to its six days of connoisseurship, selling and schmoozing. Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

The hundreds of gallery owners who apply each year to secure a coveted booth at Art Basel, the Swiss art fair, spend weeks on their admission applications. They describe the evolution of their galleries, track the history of their exhibitions and list the biographies of their artists. Then there is the matter of the “mock booths,” intricate sketches, miniature models, even virtual tours, of their planned exhibition spaces, complete with tiny reproductions of the exact works they hope to exhibit.

All to impress the fair’s selection jury, six fellow dealers who have become among the most powerful gatekeepers — and tastemakers — in the art world...

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