All eyes are on Miami this week for Art Basel Miami Beach, the crown jewel of the Magic City’s burgeoning art scene. Since making its stateside debut in 2002, ABMB (December 3 through 6) has grown into a nearly week-long affair of satellite fairs, museum openings, special projects, pop-ups and VIP parties. With so much to see and do this week, we’ve curated a selection of what you need to know for the ultimate Art Basel Miami Beach experience.
What to see
In its 14th year, this year’s fair boasts its most robust lineup with more than 260 leading international galleries (29 of which are Art Basel first-timers) from 32 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, exhibiting an estimated $3 billion worth of contemporary art around the Miami Beach Convention Center. Making his debut as director of Art Basel’s American operations is Noah Horowitz, former head of the Armory Show. Galleries, the main sector of Art Basel, will feature 191 showcases of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photography, video and edition works. Look for strong veterans such as Galerie Barbara Thumm and ProjecteSD as well as newbies like Vedovi Gallery and Mazzoleni. The Edition sector is another perennial highlight; this year’s show singles out 12 global leaders in the field of prints and limited-edition works (Alan Cristea Gallery, Paragon and Pace Prints, among others). The Survey sector, which debuted to much acclaim last year, returns with 14 exhibitions of historically informed works, including Castelli Gallery, which marks its ABMB premiere with a selection of iconic sculptural works by Keith Sonnier.
The Nova and Positions sections are where you’ll find works from emerging artists and younger galleries. Creating a buzz are an installation by Dan Bayles at François Ghebaly Gallery, which will actually evolve over the course of the fair, and Galeria Leme’s booth, which will be transformed into a fictitious museum. In addition to the five aforementioned gallery sectors, many innovative exhibitions will be on display in Art Basel’s project-based sectors: Kabinett, Public and Film. Kabinett is where galleries put forth concise curated installations; a standout this year is a new, interactive piece by Glenn Kaino, The Internationale, in the Kavi Gupta area. Public offers a refreshing respite from all the indoor to-do with an ambitious outdoor display composed of 27 large-scale installations and live performances, including one from William Pope.L, at Collins Park. Another outdoor favorite is Films, a portion of the program where 50 films and videos under the title “Our Hidden Futures” will be screened on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center. Rounding out the fair are Conversations and Salon’s always-popular programs of stimulating talks from prominent members (Rosalyn Drexler, Valeska Soares) across the international art world on a range of topics (New Role for Art in Cuba).
Insider Tip: Art Basel is open to the public, and while tickets are available onsite, it’s best to order ahead of time online at artbasel.com. Tickets are $47 for one-day entrance, $100 for an all-day permanent ticket and $60 for a one-day combo ticket to Art Basel and the Design Miami global forum.
What else to do
During Art Basel Miami Beach week, special exhibitions at museums, galleries and other locations pop up throughout the city. Design Miami on Miami Beach features some of the world’s leading galleries specializing in 20th- and 21st-century collectible design. Art Miami, one of Art Week’s most popular and well-established fairs, spotlights the best in contemporary works. Sister show Context Miami showcases works by emerging and midcareer artists. Other noteworthy fairs are Spectrum Miami, Pinta Miami and Red Dot Miami, all located in the Wynwood and Midtown neighborhoods, where the arts scene has been quickly growing.
South Florida’s leading museums also shine with their strongest collections of the year. Merging arts with music, the Pérez Art Museum Miami will present a collaborative performance between musician Devonté Hynes (Blood Orange) and artist Ryan McNamara. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami will have Alex Bag’s The Van (Redux). At Nova Southeastern University Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find exhibits such as “Pablo Picasso: Painted Ceramics and Works on Paper, 1931-71.” Other highlights around town include the 200-piece “Margin of Error” at the Wolfsonian-FIU; Vincent Van Gogh’s The Poplars at Saint-Rémy, 1889 and Edgar Degas’ Portrait of Mlle. Hortense Valpinçon, circa 1871 at the Norton Museum of Art. Bass Museum of Art will host bassX — the series of artist projects, exhibitions, events and education programs will have Sylvie Fleury’s works on the marquee during ABMB — in the Miami Beach Library, too. HistoryMiami will also proudly stage the Miami Street Photography Festival during ABMB.
Insider Tip: A complimentary shuttle service connecting Miami Beach and Miami will run throughout the week to take you between art shows in both cities. See a map here.
Where to stay
While most of the highly sought-after hotels and posh resorts book up early in the year, you can still enjoy fine luxury properties that are collaborating with various Art Basel Miami Beach entities. Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Miami and Peruvian gallery MORBO have teamed up to present a special exhibition of contemporary art titled “Pure Abstraction” by street artist Alex “HENSE” Brewer. Iconic rock images from the music world’s best-known photographers will be at the Epic Hotel downtown. At Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach, see the NADA Art Fair Miami Beach. The Museum of Modern Art Design Store will pop up with The Skateroom at the Delano South Beach for an immersive installation throughout the property with a series of limited-edition skate desks featuring work by Andy Warhol. In addition to providing a splashy, sophisticated stay, The Miami Beach Edition is also hosting pop-up exhibits by several New York galleries in its bungalows. This includes new works by Daniel Heidkamp, a sculpture from Tom Sachs and book signings with Justin Adian and Su Williams. At ultra-posh newcomer Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Faena Art’s Experimental Communities and Artistic Collaboratories Program in Miami Beach will make its debut with a hot disco-era roller rink created by Brazilian-French artist duo Assume Vivid Astro Focus. Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Miami in Brickell will have a showing of new work by Spanish painter Antonio Dominguez de Haro.
Where to dine
Miami’s chefs are at their best with special Art Basel-inspired menus to complement the colorful scene. Of course, there are always the quintessential South Florida mainstays like Joe’s Stone Crab, but ABMB is also a prime time to check out some of the newest hot spots on the culinary scene. Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli recently opened the Mediterranean-tinged Driftwood Room at the new Nautilus South Beach Hotel. James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein returns to the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens with two concepts exclusive to ABMB — The Garden Café by Michelle Bernstein and Michy’s Pop Up. The chic new Byblos at Royal Palm South Beach Miami serves up a fresh take on eastern Mediterranean cuisine. The Mandarin Oriental’s La Mar restaurant will host a special evening of art, music and technology with HENSE on December 3. That week, new restaurant and nightclub El Tucan will get in on the ABMB fun with a special series of dinner shows by acclaimed Cuban actress and singer Cucu Diamantes, musician Alain Pérez and an 11-piece Latin orchestra.