Art Basel is here. Every year Miami hosts an art event like none other. Museum shows, gallery openings, public art projects, parties and dozens of art fairs spread across Miami for one week in December. The best, most exciting and most famous artists from around the world are all represented, as are all the top galleries and art organizations. Tens of thousands of art lovers crowd these events and make South Florida the art capital of the world, if only for one week. I have been going for at least fifteen years, back when it was just one event called Art Miami, and have learned a few tricks to make it more fun. I also have some advice and observations that I will share for the uninitiated. I will also try to point out some things not to be missed.
Much More After the Fold
The first point I will make is don’t try to see it all. Even if you had the whole week and spent every day and night going from one event to another you would never see all there is to see. Plus, for most people after viewing a few hundred pieces of work, they all start to blur together. Spend quality time at a few shows rather than try and "get it all in." Having said that, from an art lover’s point of view, the opportunity to see all the world’s galleries and artists is hard to resist.
As for me, I usually go to Art Basel in the Miami Convention Center on opening night and then plan each day in a different part of town. For example; Wednesday night at Art Basel, Thursday and Friday at Wynwood and the Design District, Saturday on the beach for the Convention Center again and the other shows nearby and then Sunday morning I do anything I missed plus a trip back to any paintings I can’t live without (Hint - by Sunday afternoon everything is on sale, no one likes to pack up). It is an exhausting week but so worth it.
Below I’ll highlight the art fairs, some of the exhibiting galleries and artists that I will be visiting and point out some good eats along the way. I went crazy with the links, everything underlined is linkable, so enjoy the surfing!
Art BaselWhere: Miami Beach Convention CenterWhen: December 2 – 5Cost: 1 day $36 / 2 day $60 Evening only (after 4 pm) $20
This is the big show, the main event. I have described the experience as like walking through a modern art museum except everything has a price tag. Most of the top galleries, all blue-chip artists are represented. It’s also a great place to people watch, get a glass of champagne and enjoy the show.
Exhibitors at Art Basel to visit:Mary Boone Gallery – NYPeter Freeman, Inc – NYMichael Kohn Gallery – LA shows Mark RydenMarlborough Gallery, Inc. LondonThe Pace Gallery – NYFredric Snitzer Gallery -Miami
Aqua 10Where: 1530 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33139When: December 2 – 5 Cost: 1 day $10
One of the best “satellite art fairs” every year. After one year in Wynwood, Aqua is back where it belongs, on the beach in an old Art Deco hotel again. This only adds to the fun. For one week Hotel Aqua transforms 43 rooms into makeshift art galleries. The fair focuses on young dealers and galleries with strong emerging artist programs. The gallery owners are always engaging and helpful. This one is a favorite.
Exhibitors at Aqua to visit:Beth Urdang Gallery – Boston / shows great painters
Harold Goldens Gallery - Miami / make sure you check out Skot Olsen's great new paintings
C. Emerson Fine Arts – St. Petersburg / shows Francesco Lo Castro (great local artist)Robert Kern Gallery – Boston / shows famous iconic photographyToomey Tourell – San Fran / look for Ray Turner’s paintings
Verge Art FairWhere: The Catalina Hotel 1732 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FLWhen: December 2 – 5 Cost: 1 day $10
Formally Bridge Art Fair, Verge should be another great Miami Beach hotel show. Less expensive work than most of the other fairs, but not lower quality. The artist and galleries are up and coming, who knows, you could buy a piece from the next great artist.
NADA Art FairWhere: The Deauville Beach Resort 6701 Collins Ave Miami Beach, FL 33141When: December 2 – 5Cost: Free!
NADA or New Art Dealers Alliance is a not-for-profit collective. 89 international galleries will be featured. This show should be fun and is free so you have no excuses.
Wynwood and Midtown
Art MiamiWhere: 3101 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33137When: December 1 – 5 Cost: 1 day $15 Multi day $20
This is the one that started it all. Back before the Basel gang came to Miami, Art Miami was the only fair in town and occupied the Convention Center. To me Art Miami is still the best representation of the Contemporary American art scene. Art Miami is every bit the quality of Basel with little of the pretension. I have been going to the fair since before I opened my first gallery in 1995 and have seen and met incredible artists, if you could only see one fair I would be hard pressed to not recommend this one. Art Miami 2010 will showcase over 100 international galleries.
Exhibitors at Art Miami to visit:Bullseye Gallery – PortlandCatherine Edelman Gallery – ChicagoLaurence Miller Gallery – NYFAMA Gallery - VeronaModernism, Inc. – San Fran / showing Gary Baseman
Scope Art FairWhere: 3055 N Miami Ave Miami, FL 33127When: December 1 – 5Cost: 1 day $20
Another great fair with many of Miami’s best artists represented. I am especially looking forward to Scope this year. Scope is in its tenth year and is presenting 75 international galleries. This year there will be paintings, sculpture, photography, film, music, installation and performance.
Exhibitors at Scope to visit:Carol Jazzar – Miami / showing Jen StarkWitzenhausen Gallery – Amsterdam / showing incredible work by Hendrik Kerstons101/Exhibit – Miami / a great gallery showing one of my favorite painters Marcus JansenSpinello Gallery – Miami / don’t miss the crazy animals by Cuban born artist Enrique Gomez de Molina
Pulse Art FairWhere: 1400 N Miami Ave at NW 14 St Miami, FL 33136When: December 2 – 5Cost 1 day $15Another fair that always attracts first-rate galleries. Pulse started in Miami in 2004 and is now located at Miami’s Ice Palace in Wynwood. This year Pulse will be showcasing over 80 contemporary art galleries.
Exhibitors at Pulse to visit:Jen Bekman Gallery – NY Robert Koch Gallery – San Fran / a great downtown gallery Diana Lowenstein – Miami / one of the original galleries in Miami, never to be missed, fantastic group of international artists.Bruce Silverstein – NYTorch – Amsterdam
Red Dot Art FairWhere: 3011 NE 1st Ave and Midtown BlvdWhen: December 1 – 5Cost: 1 day $15
Red Dot, the name is apropos; I see more sales at this fair then any of the other satellite fairs. Located right across the street from Art Miami. In its fourth year Red Dot will be presenting over 40 international galleries featuring paintings, sculptures and works on paper. I am always impressed with the work at this little fair.
Exhibitors at Red Dot to visit:Hang Art – San Fran / this is my favorite gallery in San Fran. Located downtown on Geary.Art Link International – Lake Worth / Florida gallery that sells Highwaymen, Hutchinson and Backus. It will be interesting to see what they show and how they fit in.
Fountain Art FairWhere: 2505 N Miami Ave Miami, FLWhen: December 3 – 5Cost: Free!
Located right across the street from Aqua. Think Duchamp. This is the fair for the new avant-garde. Way out work that can at times succeed. Very irreverent and junky but in a good way. For some reason I never miss it. Maybe because it’s free.
Art AsiaWhere: 2901 N Miami Ave Miami, FL 33137When: December 1 – 5Cost: 1 day $15
Art Asia is one of the smaller fairs with 30 galleries showing established and emerging Asian artists. In its third year Art Asia is the only Asian contemporary art fair in America. I heard good things about this fair last year and will make sure I see it this year.
Other things to do around town:
There are lots of side artist projects around the city. One that caught my eye was “Timeless,” a photography exhibition of work by Julian Lennon. Over 30 photos, portraiture and landscapes. The exhibition is put on by The New Generation Green Room at the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts. The exhibition will be open to the public daily from 12 noon until 10:00 p.m.
There are giant pink snails, yes I said giant pink snails. From CBS4.com. “Beginning Monday, dozens of giant pink snails will be popping up all over Miami Beach including Lummus Park and the Venetian Causeway. The 45 pink snails, each measuring eight feet tall by eleven feet long, are the work of an Italian art collective and a Rome-based gallery which hopes to spread environmental consciousness.”
The mural project “Wynwood Walls” that started last year is greatly expanding at Art Park. Jonathan Levine is helping to organize the event. You can find more about it here.
Seven is an art exhibition that is a collective effort put on by seven galleries. This year they have a new 24, 000 square foot exhibit space. Seven is located in Wynwood. Julie Heffernan, one of my favorite artists will be showing all new work at Seven.
The Rubell Collection is Miami’s premiere contemporary private art collection. The Rubell’s have been collecting and exhibiting for years in Wynwood, long before it was hip. The exhibits are always cutting edge and always memorable.
There is also a show called Containers down on the beach that is great every year, I have not heard anything about it this year, watch out for it.
Marcus Jansen is at Scope this year and simultaneously showing at 101/EXHIBIT in the Design District. Not to be missed!
Most of the Art Museums in South Florida are having events that tie into Art Basel and you can find a link to all the Art Museums in Florida on the left side of my blog.
Oh and don’t forget all the galleries in Wynwood that are having openings. Some of the best galleries in the world have locations in Wynwood now. Check out Harold Goldens Gallery if you love Pop Art like me. There are too many others to mention but the Wynwood Art District has a website with a directory and map.
The Miami Herald also has a good break down of all the weeks events.
Parking, Transportation and Maps:
Parking Miami Beach: My suggestion is one of two options. First, the valet at the entrance to the Convention Center is great but if you are leaving at a busy time when everyone is trying to get their cars, it could be a long wait. You may prefer my second option which is to park in the garage across the street. Either way you can leave your car all day and walk to any of the beach fairs and restaurants from there.
Parking Wynwood, Midtown and the Design District: If you plan to see a few of the fairs you may have to park a few different places. Find a street spot if possible with a meter, if not there are pay lots. Try to strategically find a spot close to a few of the fairs. That way you can see more than one art fair without moving the car. Another option and one I have done before is to find a good central spot to park and then move around by catching one of the many bike rickshaws or cabs. Some park on the beach and use the shuttles to get to Wynwood and then use cabs or the rickshaws. But I have never had a problem with parking.
Shuttles: Art Basel and the City of Miami provide shuttles between the Convention Center and the Wynwood fairs. More information can be found here.
Rickshaws or Pedicabs: Get taken around Wynwood by Rickshaw. A fun way to get around and most of the Rickshaw operators are good tour guides and really funny.
Cabs: Cabs are everywhere. Try outside any of the big fairs but you can also catch them down most streets.
Maps:Google Map of all the eventsAqua Map of Wynwood fairsRed Dot Map of Wynwood fairs
Food on Miami Beach:
The Convention Center itself has a food court that is very good and again the people watching is priceless. Then there are all the restaurants on Lincoln Road, which is just a block away. Plus most of the hotels on the beach have good restaurants; if you want to do it up try The Delano, Social Miami or Ola. On Lincoln Road stick with The Ice Box, Nexxt Café or my favorite Van Dyke Café. And while you’re on Lincoln Road make sure you check out the exhibit at the Art Center/South Florida, always worth a look!
Food in Wynwood and Midtown:
My favorite spot to go is Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop, try the arroz con pollo, to die for!Sugarcane Raw Bar is really good. Brosia in the Design District is highly recommended.This year Pulse Art Fair has commissioned a rotating program of food trucks from some of Miami's favorite restaurants: the wildly popular Latin Burger; gourmet food truck pioneer Gastropod; Jefe's Original, serving their signature fish tacos; and Yellow Submarine, purveyors of the finest Colombian fast food. Each day a different truck will be available in the fair's plaza - please see the schedule available here. Finally, at the end of each day visitors are invited to reward themselves and partake in cocktails at the PULSE Bar, from 4pm to 7pm.
That should keep you busy. Remember the more you see and judge for yourself the more you will grow your own aesthetic. Hone in on what truly speaks to you. Like most artists that need to complete years of work before finding their true authentic voice, the viewer becomes more and more informed by experiencing lots of different work. This coming week gives you the opportunity to cram a lifetime of art and culture into five days, how American! Get out and see the art world today. GL
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