Cadogan Tate at Art Basel Miami Beach
“I will be sleeping with my Blackberry,” says Stacey Ferguson, client manager for Cadogan Tate in New York. “It will either be directly in my hand, on my pillow or in my bed. You don’t know what can happen.”
Welcome to Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the biggest, most influential art fairs in the world, which has just got underway. So enormous is the expo that for one whole week, the city transforms itself beyond recognition. It lives, breathes, sleeps and dreams art. It makes for a fantastically beguiling spectacle, which is, at times, utterly surreal.
Art fairs are, after all, ambitious and colossal undertakings, the logistics of which can give you headaches, nightmares even. For one, you’ve got to liaise with galleries all over the world. Two, you’ve got an ensemble of employees, collaborators and middlemen to network with. And three, you’ve got to cater for the fact you’re going to have thousands of people passing through day and night.
And that’s just an overview. Easy going it isn’t, but phenomenal it most certainly is. The same pandemonium, levels of frantic activity and all-around buzz filter down to organisations like Cadogan Tate, which has been working flat out over the last couple of months in preparation for Art Basel Miami Beach.
The leading fine art shipping and storage company will be on hand to deliver its services throughout the week, including assisting in the inaugural Miami Project, the newest addition to artMRKT Productions’ roster of fairs.
Stephen McHugh, business development executive at Cadogan Tate in New York, reveals that the company has sent down a core team of around 15 employees to ensure that they are able to deliver a flexible and professional service, day and night, 24/7. Smartphones will never have been so charged up.
“This year we are doing about three times the amount of work we usually do for Art Miami, so it going to be a challenge,” he says. This is in part due to its work with Miami Project, of which it is also a sponsor. No worries, Cadogan Tate has built itself a reputation as being able to deliver under pressure.
Perhaps he’s confident because the company’s newest recruit Stacey comes with invaluable experience. Stephen explains: “She is really knowledgeable about the art fair business and has jumped in to this with two feet. She has really immersed herself in making this happen.”
Stacey comes to New York from the UK’s capital, having worked on major expos like Frieze and Art Basel in Switzerland, and, as an active figure in the London fine art scene, has enough insight into how to manage things effectively.
“It can be reactionary,” she highlights, hence the reference to literally being attached to her mobile during Art Basel. “While you can be as prepared as possible, you have to be aware that suddenly everything on the day will change.”
There’s no opportunity to relax; the job is never done. For example, even after Cadogan Tate has collected, packaged and transported works of art to the fair, and then set them up in the stalls, there’s always something to do.
Stacey elaborates: “Things get sold and we have to dispatch works to clients, someone might need a hand with something and there might be swap-outs, which is basically where we swap one work of art for another for a number of reasons.”
Every day is constantly evolving, and it is hard to predict just how it will unfold. Art Basel Miami Beach in particular is unlike any of the other fairs Stacey has worked on. The scale is just extraordinary.
But it is worth it, as she notes: “It’s full on and the days are long but it is an amazing feeling to get the artwork out and hang them up.” Perfectly said. This is why, ultimately, everyone wants to be in Miami come December. To see, feel and talk about great art.
Cadogan Tate, a leader in fine art shipping and storage, will be available for consultation during Art Basel Week.