Beginning from Art Basel 2019, the new booth fee system will help support young and emerging galleries at the cost of bigger and established ones

The installation Basilea, 2018. Source: Creative Time/Art Basel/

Art Basel, one of the world’s biggest art fair, takes serious steps to tackle the gallery crisis that is in large part caused by the challenges of art fairs.

Beginning with Switzerland's flagship fair in 2019, Art Basel will use a progressive taxation system for exhibitions in its central Galleries section. Big dealers, who usually rent large spaces, will have to pay more for a square metre than their younger, emerging colleagues. The huge gap between them is the consequence of the current system, where a square metre price does not depend on the size of an exhibitor.

Art Basel will also cut fees for its Statements and Feature booths and offer two-year discounts to exhibitors who grow from small sections to the main sector. Fees for the Statements section for sole projects by young artists will be reduced from $12,385 to $10,320. Fees for Feature booths for curatorial projects by established or historical artists will be set at $20,640 instead of earlier $25,800. Finally, art sellers will get a 20% discount on their square metre price for the first year and a 10% discount for the second year.

The new system interrupts the art fair’s policy of increasing a square metre price by 5% annually as a response to growing expenses and higher spending on development. Art Basel’s global director Marc Spiegler says that with the new fee rates, the fair’s revenues from booth fees in 2019 will not exceed those of past June. “Given the state of the art world, since we could afford to do it, we decided we would,” Marc Spiegler told Fairs of the following years – Art Basel Miami Beach in 2019 and Art Basel Hong Kong – will see similar changes.

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