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THIS IS A LETTER SENT BY THE DIRECTOR OF ART BASEL MIAMI TO THE EXHIBITORS ABOUT ALLEGEDLY UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR OF AUCTION HOUSES (CHRISTIE’S OR SOTHEBY’S) AT THE FAIR. IT DISCLOSES THE WAY THE ART WORLD FUNCTIONS IN A VERY CLEAR WAY. LET’S SEE….

Dear Art Basel Gallerist

We look forward to seeing you soon in Miami Beach. As you know, Art Basel is committed to providing your gallery with a great platform for promoting your program to both your existing clients and new patrons.

In the past, some of our exhibitors have raised with us their concern that actions by some auction-house personnel have been counterproductive to their gallery business during our shows. We take such issues seriously and therefore Art Basel contacted the three major auction houses – Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s.

All three have recognized the fundamental principle that the Art Basel fair is a platform created by galleries for galleries. All three houses have agreed that they will not condone their staff acting in any way that interferes with the business of our exhibitors or their relationships with collectors in the show. All three have designated a single senior-level staff member to handle complaints about counterproductive activities.

Specific such activities could include:

· Promoting works that have been consigned to their house, either for private-treaty or auction sale, as an alternative to buying works at the show;
· Using ipads or similar devices on the show floor to promote works for sale by the auction house;
· Interrupting gallerists during conversation with collectors;
· Disparaging works for sale in terms of quality or price;
· Initiating contacts with clients inside the booth and then leading clients outside of the gallery booth.

If you at any time during the show feel that auction-house personnel are not complying with the spirit of this understanding, you may contact the on-site Ombudsman Helen Cohen on +1-786-276-2901. She will then immediately contact the designated senior-level staff member at the relevant house to quickly address the situation.

We hope this initiative will help to avoid such issues in the future, but will monitor this closely moving forward.

Wishing you a great week in Miami Beach,

Marc Spiegler
Director
Art Basel

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