According to Peter Schjeldahl’s New Yorker story on art fairs in this week’s issue:
Paddle 8 reported three-quarters of a million views for the hundred and one participating galleries, but only about 50 sales. I like to ascribe the tepid action to the fact that it is absurd to buy art that you haven’t actually seen, but it was almost certainly due to the lack of see-and-be-seen sociability.
This is a remarkably biased assumption. Paddle 8′s sales may or may not have been meaningful at 50 purchases. We don’t know the prices paid or have a real comparison to sales that took place at the fair itself. If those were 50 $1m+ sales, it would very meaningful (even though it is highly unlikely.) If sales at the fair were (as seemed from the reporting during Armory Week) not very robust, it may also be a respectable number.
The point here is not that Schjeldahl is wrong or right but that his statement is built upon poorly-reasoned premise followed by a wishful pair of conclusions.
All is Fairs (New Yorker)