By: Shayne Benowitz | Sep 27, 2017
All about Art Basel
Art Basel Miami Beach, North America’s international contemporary art fair has called Miami Beach home since 2001, showcasing over 260 galleries and 4,000 artists from 31 countries inside the Miami Beach Convention Center. The 2018 edition will run from December 6-9, attracting an international crowd of gallerists, artists, collectors and glitterati.
It’s also a prime time for Miami to showcase its local art scene for this influx of international visitors. Countless satellite fairs and museum exhibitions are on display in a week that’s become know as Miami Art Week.
Background & Aspects of the Fair
Art Basel Miami Beach is the sister fair to the original Art Basel, founded in Basel Switzerland in 1970. In Miami Beach, it capitalizes on the city’s unique geography as the nexus of North America and South America. In 2013, a third iteration of Art Basel launched in Hong Kong, the gateway between Eastern and Western cultures. Art Basel Cities is a new initiative launching in September 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which will bring the art fair to a new international city annually.
At Art Basel Miami Beach, 500,000 square-feet of exhibition space is divided into nine sectors: Galleries, Nova, Positions, Edition, Kabinett, Survey, Public, Film and Magazines. These sectors allow visitors to navigate the fair and experience the many dimensions of modern and contemporary art.
One of the most engaging sectors is Public, which is set at Collins Park in collaboration with the newly renovated Bass Museum. Public is free and open to the general public showcasing sculptures, site specific installations and performance art. Another outdoor sector is Film, which presents work at the Frank Gehry designed New World Center’s SoundScape Park, boasting a 7,000 square-foot projection wall ideal for video art.
Satellite Fairs, Museums & Events
While Art Basel Miami Beach is undeniably the main event, there are more than 20 satellite fairs during Miami Art Week. In 2004, Design Miami launched as a sister fair to Art Basel, exploring the global world of design. Other popular satellite fairs include Pulse, Scope and Art Miami. Local museums and galleries also get into the action during Miami Art Week, showcasing their most compelling work, from the Perez Art Museum Miami to The Bass.
"It's the quintessential place to show," says Robert Fontaine, director of Miami’s Robert Fontaine Gallery. "It's a spotlight on the newest of the new. These artists are producing the best works of their career to show at the World's Fair of fine art."
In fact, Miami Art Week is all about surprise and delight. A simple stroll through South Beach or Midtown provides public art and installations, unparalleled people-watching and unpredictable spectacles.
Nightlife & Events
Where art is found, a fashionable crowd is never far behind. Designers and magazine editors throw events and parties, from luxury retailers in the Design District to the rooftops of chic boutiques and hotels in South Beach.
Speaking of parties, for those who can get past the velvet rope, Art Basel is a whirlwind of non-stop revelry. Nightclubs host celebrity-splashed soirees, while pop-up clubs dot the city from South Beach to Wynwood, offering ephemeral experiences for nightlife lovers.
Tips & Need to Know Details
For first timers, Art Basel Miami Beach is a good place to start. Guided tours by established art critics are available if reserved in advance. Flavors of Miami from local restaurants will be available at the convention center for both lunch and dinner, as well as an outdoor café across the street at the Botanical Gardens, not to mention plenty of Champagne carts. Take a break for lunch to make the day stretch. Once you’ve experienced Art Basel, select one or two other satellite fairs to see while you’re in town. Plan to attend no more than one or two fairs in a single day to prevent contemporary art overload.
Save time and money by purchasing your Art Basel tickets online ahead of time. Single day tickets are $50 online, $60 on site. Permanent tickets valid all days are $120 online, $130 on site. You can also purchase a combination Art Basel and Design Miami ticket for $65 online and $75 on site.
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