MIAMI BEACH — Even the small talk was more solemn at this year’s edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. On opening day of what is America’s largest fair of contemporary art and Champagne-steeped hedonism, the air kisses were shadowed by the challenges the presidency of Donald J. Trump might pose to an art world that likes to imagine itself as a force for progress.
At Wednesday’s V.I.P. preview, more sedate than the running-of-the-bulls ambience of years past, gallerists and curators spoke in apocalyptic terms about America after Jan. 20, while the collectors — some lightly espoused social liberalism and ecological commitments aside — were sanguine about the fate of the art market. If Mr. Trump’s plutocratic cabinet choices are any guide, the rich who buy art here might soon pay even less tax than they do now. (The nominee for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is the son of the art dealer Robert Mnuchin, whose gallery’s booth was heavily trafficked.)