In December, the eternal optimism and youth of Miami Beach will again play host to Art Basel, an international art fair that is also staged in Switzerland and Hong Kong, an event that is quickly becoming one of the biggest attractions in one of America’s most exciting cities.
Art Basel Miami Beach is the biggest art fair in the United States, turning this sun-drenched corner of the Sunshine State into a cultural hotspot for four days. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors every day and also serves as a showcase for hundreds of world-class galleries and thousands of artists.
What is Art Basel?
Art Basel has been making Miami its home for over 15 years, growing in popularity and scale each year. It is part of a larger network of art fairs that are held all over the world, and the Miami Beach fair is the largest in the United States. Every year Art Basel Miami Beach hosts over 250 galleries from around the world, each showing its eclectic mix of art, covering everything from up-and-coming artists to established masters.
This is a great chance to explore the art and culture of Miami, as local galleries are afforded a lot of space within the fair, and they often do their city proud. But it’s also a great chance to experience art trends from all over the world, with over 250 galleries representing over 30 countries and countless artists.
Art Basel Miami Beach is a great place to learn and experience art in all of its forms. It also attracts many artists, collectors, and investors, not to mention countless celebrities looking for their dose of the limelight.
The Art Basel Influence
There is a buzz of excitement throughout Miami when the Art Basel fair comes to town, and it’s something that many other museums, galleries, and event organizers look to take advantage of. As a result, each year there are more than 20 different fairs and events held independently of Art Basel. These “satellite fairs” are not as prestigious, high-profile, or famous, but if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and to see a different side of cultural Miami, they could be just what you need.
To explore these attractions for yourself, just check with local organizers and tourist websites before arriving. The competition for people’s attention is fierce, so many of these events are either free or cost less than entry to Art Basel. Of course, Art Basel is what everyone wants to see, and it’s the reason more than 100,000 visitors flock to the city every December, but there’s much more to this town than this art fair.
Miami is also a hotspot for quality restaurants and nightclubs, most of which experience a boost in revenue during Art Basel.
This festival has helped to increase the cultural significance of Miami, thereby helping other businesses to profit and grow. As a result, even after the booths are closed, the artwork is packed away, and the last enthusiast has departed, there is still a lot of culture left to experience in Miami.
How to Visit
Art Basel is held the Miami Beach Convention Center, located in South Beach, also known as the Art Deco District. The center is just a stone’s throw away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the city and just 12 miles from Miami International Airport. It’s the perfect destination for travelers dropping in and out (there is a connecting shuttle service) and for those looking to stay and enjoy the sights.
The fair opens on Monday, December 4th, 2017, but the first few days are for invitation holders only, and the general public is not allowed access until Thursday, December 7th. There are guided tours, interactive exhibits, bookstores, and restaurants onsite. You can bring the kids, and there is also accessibility for the disabled. You’re not allowed to bring any big bags with you, and there are restrictions on what you can bring into the center; large bags, coats, and anything else not allowed can be left in a secure room near the entrance.
A day ticket costs $50 if you order online, $55 onsite. You can also purchase a 4-day ticket that gives you access to all events from the 7th to the 10th and costs around $115. There are discounts for students and seniors; children can enter for free when accompanied by an adult.
Previous Art Basel Showcases
Art Basel Miami Beach covers 500,000 square feet of exhibition space, all of which is divided into eight sections: Galleries, Nova, Edition, Positions, Kabinett, Film, Magazines, and Public. These sections make exploring the fair a little easier, giving you a chance to digest all of your favorite genres and pieces first, before continuing onto sections you’re not as interested in.
To give you an idea of what you can expect at the 2017 Art Basel fair in Miami Beach, these are some of our favorite artworks and booths from previous fairs:
Glenn Kaino’s “The Internationale”: Located in the Kabinett section of the 2015 fair, this enchanting piece was inspired by a nineteenth-century sculpture. It featured a clown sitting quietly on the tip of a crescent moon, with the moon singing “The Internationale,” an anthem of the French left-wing.
Rodney McMillian and John Divola: These two artists created a booth titled “Maccarone” at the 2016 event. It beckoned visitors from afar with a huge painting that wrapped around the booth like a curtain. This painting—15-feet high and 70-feet wide—was an impressive feat in itself, but it also drew visitors in to see many other creations by these two artists.
Toilet Paper Installation: This 2016 booth was a collaboration by two artists and the Swiss Fondation Beyeler museum. Its eclectic mix of colors and designs, all decorating a recreation of a New York City apartment, could be seen for weeks afterward on Instagram as amazed visitors snapped selfies of themselves with the artwork.