Art | Basel Miami Beach Dominates the Magic City

 Photo courtesy of Art | Basel General Impressions Art Basel in Miami Beach 2016

Photo courtesy of Art | Basel General Impressions Art Basel in Miami Beach 2016

written by Breck Hapner


Art Basel Miami Beach, the premier contemporary art show in the Americas, brings its 16th incarnation to South Florida Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, resplendent with eclectic art collectors, gallerists, and artists mingling with celebrities, and well-heeled attendees.

Annually attracting the who’s who of the art world, the mammoth Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) event coincides with Miami Art Week, totally transfiguring the area, showcasing nearly every creative possibility. From the Miami Beach Convention Center to the Wynwood Art District, the city is literally taken over by art in all mediums, shapes and sizes.

In addition to hundreds of accompanying sideshows during the week, the reveling continues day and night, as partying becomes its own wild art form in Miami’s hotels, restaurants and of course, the South Beach clubs. From invitation-only bashes to rooftop bar blitzes, Miami becomes a celebratory playground amidst the innumerable art and event activities available.


What is Art Basel Miami Beach?

Art Basel stages three major art expositions yearly, in Hong Kong, Basel, and Miami Beach, focusing on art comprised of paintings, drawings, digital art, videos, films, editioned works, sculptures, performances, and installations. 268 galleries are represented, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, featuring more than 4,000 modern, contemporary and emerging artists. 

The overall ABMB experience will be more comfortable this year. The main art fair will be expanded, as renovations to the Miami Beach Convention Center’s floor plan include extra exhibition space, larger booths, wider aisles, more hall entrances, food choices, and relaxation areas.  

In addition to experiencing large-scale artworks, films and performances outdoors at Collins Park and SoundScape Park, attendees can view updates to the newly re-opened Bass Museum, check out the Design District’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and reap the aesthetic benefits from multiple satellite fairs.


What Will ABMB Have in the Convention Center?

The selection of Art Basel Miami Beach new galleries sector is growing, and in the “Meet the Gallerists” video portraits series, visitors can learn about Brussels-based dépendance, Shanghai’s Antenna Space, Buenos Aires-based Isla Flotante, Brazil’s Jaqueline Martins, Paris’ Applicat-Prazan, and Beirut’s Sfeir-Semler, all bringing museum-caliber artist work.

A popular attraction during ABMB, seminal artwork is presented in eight sectors to the public, each with a particular and identifiable theme. The first four include the Galleries sector, where visitors can choose from works spread out amidst the hundreds of galleries; Nova, designed for galleries presenting singular or multiple artists exhibiting recent and new works; Positions, allowing artists to present discovery projects to curators, critics, and collectors, and Edition, providing attendees the opportunity to see works created through collaborations between artists and publishers. 

The next four include Kabinett, where galleries present a curated exhibition by an artist of their choice in a separate space; Survey, presenting art historical projects from solo and group creators; Public, where large-scale sculptures and installations are installed in Collins Park; Film, producing outdoor screenings at SoundScape Park, and Magazines, editors and publishers from around the world displaying their art publications.

 Conjuction IX; Visit Landau Fine Art at B2 | Art Basel Miami Beach in the Convention Center

Conjuction IX; Visit Landau Fine Art at B2 | Art Basel Miami Beach in the Convention Center

As if this weren’t enough, this year ABMB is offering new sectors: Best of our 2016 Show, capturing memorable moments from the last year, and Conversations, a series of contemporary art scene topics offering perspectives on producing, collecting, and exhibiting art.

Once you’ve had your fill of the ABMB artwork in the Miami Convention Center, check out the outdoor Public sector site-specific works, large-scale sculptures and performance art at Collins Park, then amble over to Design Miami to indulge your furniture fetish, and SoundScape Park later for your cinema fix.


Experiencing (Some of) the Art.

In addition to those participating in Art Basel, don’t forget to visit the area museums, art districts and satellite fairs, chocked full of artwork chosen specifically to coincide with the main exposition. Here are a few to add to your ABMB itinerary:

Already mentioned, make sure to visit the Design Miami global forum, presenting interior design, architecture, digital installations, limited-edition furniture, and home accessories on the beach adjacent to the convention center Dec. 6 through Dec. 10 with thirty-three galleries. The highlight this year is the Design Miami partnership with Maison Perrier-Jouet, bringing three digital installations by Chicago based artists Luftwerk. 

If you enjoy contemporary art, check out the recently re-opened Perez Art Museum exhibitions “On the Horizon” featuring works by Cuban artists from the Jorge M. Perez collection, and “Dara Friedman: Perfect Stranger,” featuring 17 major film a video works. In a similar vein, the newly renovated Bass Museum’s exhibitions include the sculpture “Good Evening Beautiful Blue” by Ugo Rondinone, “Beautiful” an assemblage of materials from Arabic pots to LED lights by Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Art Basel’s Mika Rottenberg’s self-titled solo show featuring work comparing capitalism to poetry.

Contemporary Art Fair Pulse Miami Beach runs Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, featuring more than 70 galleries from across the globe, and has also brought Jasmine Wahl and Rebecca Pauline Jampol to lead PLAY, a dedicated showcase for video and new media art, picking 10 finalists from 800 submissions. Pulse’s Projects sector comprises several large- scale sculptures by Fischer Cherry and Jeana Eve Klein, along with installations from Hector Arce-Espasas and Phoenix Lindsay-Hall.

If you want a little exercise, there are more than 70 galleries and hundreds of murals and outdoor works filling a square mile comprising Miami’s open-air Wynwood Arts District. You’ll want to indulge in the Wynwood Walls ”humanKIND” project, comprised of 12 mural artists curated by Jessica Goldman Srebnick, open to audiences from 10 a.m. to midnight daily from Dec. 7 through Dec. 10. Don’t feel guilty if you went only because you were looking for the 28th edition of the biggest contemporary art fair in the world, Art Miami, but keep in mind the exposition has moved from Wynwood to Downtown Miami this year, open to the public Dec. 6 through Dec. 10.

If you’re feeling fashionable, you’ll want to hit the Miami Design District boutiques, but also try on the finely crafted art installations, pop-up exhibitions, and live performances. “The Art of Fashion” show, focusing on iconic moments in history, is expected to draw huge crowds. You can also see new restaurants, shops, and public art projects showcased, along with sculptures by Sol LeWitt, and an installation by Thomas Bayrle, part of a Design District collaboration with The Institute of Contemporary Art.

Freshly nested in the Miami Design District, The Institute of Contemporary Art is filling its new 37,500 square foot building with the voluminous exhibition “The Everywhere Studio” comprised of nearly 100 works by more than 50 artists spanning the post-war to the digital age period. If you are still hungry for more, drop in on the NADA fair, featuring over 100 exhibitors from 16 countries, or AQUA Art Miami, loaded with 52 exhibitors and several special projects, including installations, sculptures and live tattoo art, both from Dec. 7 to Dec. 10.



And the list goes on.

There are way too many incredible art happenings to mention with any true justice — you’ll have to take our word that Art Basel Miami attracts collectors, art luminaries, and creative visionaries turning the entire region into a creative hotbed to experience artwork from established and emerging artists in conjunction with delicious food, delirious parties, posh events and incredible entertainment. 

According to a FAMA editorial, the fair is “not all about selling art, rather it is a cultural movement that revitalizes the city, establishes fraternal ties, and invites locals and tourists to walk the streets and feel the creative spirit that exists but is hidden in the art districts.”

There is truly nothing like ABMB anywhere else in the United States, making the event especially exclusive. 

“Miami Beach has become the true meeting place for the art world,” Art Basel’s Director of the Americas Noah Horowitz said.

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