Updated: Nov 26
For those who are new to the Art Week experience in Miami, it can be overwhelming and confusing, yet I will decipher some of the mysteries surrounding the most prestigious art fair in the world.
As a person who has had 9 formal years of training, while having talent, I had to go through the initiation-process of attending Art Basel Miami Beach, since 2005 while I was finishing-up my second attempt and final decision to go through the process of receiving my Masters of Fine Arts at the Art Institute in Downtown, Miami a.k.a. Miami International University of Art & Design. During my program, our instructors insisted on visiting Hall D at the Miami Beach Convention Center in early December to see and enjoy this Art fair.
Most of us as Art students doing Graduate work had no idea what it was, why it mattered to us and how it could be relevant in our world. It seemed we were too far away from “getting inside” to exhibit.
As the years went by, I did see various locals make their way inside the walls, yet I had no idea as to how. I figured you did have to be shown by a gallery, but what was “gallery work”? That part…the hardest part…is simply…doing what we do…making what we make…whatever is your work is “your work” or in the case, “an artist’s work is their work”; meaning whatever they choose to make.
Will it sell was always a concern for me and is a question always asked (i.e. the ignorant “starving artist” reference). An area of life that is culturally-rich in various portions of the country or world is understood as the mass of people have equal access to its existence and education thereof of what Art is and its constructs. It has taken quite a while for this phenomenon to permeate in a young city still bereft of a “historically-based world-class museum”. While Miami and people passionate about the Visual Arts keep trying to educate the public, Art Basel Miami Beach is quite distinct from a Museum or a local Art fair to attend for an afternoon and pick up a painting for sale.
Welcome to Art Basel Miami Beach, lol, (pardon the poke), however, it is in gest as it has even taken me, who reports about it, time to get a grasp on it. It is a fair for Art Collectors. About 250 galleries attend while being juried and spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the Artwork here and their staff to sell to people who are typically keeping their eye on pieces and Artists, who are worthy of owning a work from well in advance. They have Private days as the people who purchase these works are affording high-priced luxury items and would prefer not to reveal who they are and what they are purchasing for various reasons. You have dealers, collectors, new clients, Art consultants, and Gallerists interested in the new, trending, innovative, social commentary, novel, classic, valued, and breakout-star artwork.
This fair is important for anyone to see. It questions what you believe to be Art. The materials used to make the Art provides great context for the interpretation of the Art. At the heart of the fair is collectability, supply & demand of the Artists, the prestige of certain galleries, and the “fast-fashion of Art”. It is electrifying to attend. From folks dressed in casual-wear to gowns and tuxedos, Art Basel Miami Beach is whatever you want it to be. If it puzzled you, held you in place, repulsed you, or elated you, the Artwork housed in the Miami Beach Convention Center, is the most energizing place to view the best of mostly Twentieth-Century established canons of Modern Art to today!
TIPS: LOOK UP ARTISTS FIRST ON THEIR APP, THEN FIND THE GALLERY THAT ARTIST IS SHOWN BY AND VISIT THE GALLERY. ARTISTS CAN BE IN MULTIPLE GALLERIES, SO KNOW WHERE TO GO TO MAKE YOUR TRIP MORE ENJOYABLE. THEY HAVE A CHECK-IN FOR BACK PACKS AND DO HAVE SIMPLE LUNCH OR SIMPLE DINNER BITES.
DOWNLOAD THEIR APP ON YOUR PHONE AND SEE MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE EXPO CONVERSATIONS AND/DISCUSSIONS, PARTNERS, AND MANY MORE SUGGESTIONS OF FUN DURING ART WEEK IN MIAMI!
PARKING IS TYPICALLY $20 OR MORE A DAY AND WEEKENDS ARE FULLER. THE FAIR OPENS THURSDAY, DEC 5, 2019 AND ENDS ONE HOUR EARLIER ON SUNDAY, DEC 8, 2019.