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Two thirds of galleries at Art Basel are from just four countries

Academic says globalisation has 'hardly had an impact' on the fair

Is the art market really a single, global entity? The academic Olav Velthuis questions this much-touted belief in his book, Cosmopolitan Canvases: the Globalization of Markets for Contemporary Art. One example he cites is that, in 2014, two-thirds of Art Basel’s galleries had headquarters in four countries alone: the US, Germany, the UK and Switzerland. He has calculated that the numbers are similar this year: 65.6% of the galleries are from the same four dominant countries. “Globalisation has hardly had an impact on Art Basel,” he says. Velthuis and the book’s co-editor Stefano Baia Curioni are scheduled to moderate a talk at Art Basel on The Myth of a Global Art Market (Friday 19 June, 4pm, Hall 1).