Art Basel Miami Beach is North America’s most comprehensive international contemporary art fair, with 67 galleries from 31 countries on exhibit this year. Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center from Dec. 4 to 7, 2014, Art Basel Miami Beach will draw more than 70,000 art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados to Miami. It’s also spawned over 20 satellite fairs, as well as parties and events galore.
Technically, Art Basel refers to the singular fair by that name held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but the spirit of Art Basel lives in venues big and small throughout the city who host satellite fairs and events. The Convention Center space is only the beginning of what goes on during the whirlwind week of art and parties that’s perfectly suited for Miami.
For a full list of satellite fairs and events, check out The Ultimate Guide to Miami Art Week During Art Basel.
The History of Art Basel
A sister fair of the original, founded in Basel, Switzerland in 1970, the Miami Beach edition has been an annual fixture in early December since 2002. The brainchild of a trio of Swiss gallerists, Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt, their vision brought together artists they represented, as well as collectors, curators and critics from all over the globe for the first Art Basel. Their vision was a success and attracted over 16,000 people to the first fair.
Miami was selected as an ideal second destination at the nexus of North America and Latin America. Over the years, with the boon from Art Basel, Miami has become a thriving arts destination in its own right with a vibrant gallery scene in Wynwood and the opening of the landmark Pérez Art Museum Miami. The festival is also held in Hong Kong, a city that sits symbolically at the junction of Eastern and Western culture.
About Art Basel
At Art Basel, the 500,000 square-feet of exhibition space is divided into sectors. Comprising 192 of the world’s leading galleries, the Galleries sector is the centerpiece of the show.
Survey – the new sector dedicated to precise art-historical projects ranging from solo shows to thematic exhibitions – will launch in Miami Beach this year with 13 select galleries.
Editions premieres this year featuring leading publishers of edition works and prints. Works on display include paintings, sculpture, drawings, photography, installation, film, video and digital art.
The sectors divide the fair into separate curatorial spaces. For instance, Nova exhibits new, cutting edge works, while Kabinett focuses on a body of work by a single artist or a themed group exhibition.
While Art Basel Miami Beach opens to the public Thurs. Dec. 4 and runs through Sun. Dec. 7, the social calendar and satellite fair openings start a few days earlier, encapsulating a week that’s come to be known as Miami Art Week.
- In December, the Pérez Art Museum Miami will present work by Mario Garcia Torres, in addition to their two concurrent solo shows by Beatriz Milhazes and Geoffrey Farmer.
- Other highlights include “Myth and Machine: The First World War in Visual Culture” at the Wolfsonian at FIU and “One Way: Peter Marino” at the Bass Museum of Art.
- Glass sculptures by renowned artist Dale Chihuly will be displayed at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden during the Art at Fairchild season.
- Each year, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU hosts a Breakfast in the Park event that draws hundreds of art enthusiasts, patrons, collectors, gallery owners and artists from around the world.
- Additionally, the Lowe Art Museum, MDC Museum of Art + Design, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Jewish Museum of Florida and Vizcaya Museum & Gardens will all host special events and exhibitions during the month of December.
- Design Miami, the leading global forum for collectible design, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an expanded program and the world’s leading galleries specializing in 20th and 21st century design. The 10th edition will take place from Dec. 2 to Dec. 7, 2014.
- With Miami home to impressive private collections—The Marguilies Collection at the Warehouse, the de la Cruz Collection and the Rubell Family Collection—they open their doors to the public during Miami Art Week at varying hours.
- The Film Sector at the New World Center’s Soundscape Park is an exciting outdoor venue to view video art under the stars projected onto a 7,000 square-foot wall designed by Frank Gehry.
Satellite Art Fairs
In addition to the main event, there are a number of must see satellite fairs. For cutting edge, contemporary works, check out Pulse Miami, NADA and Art Untitled. Scope and Art Miami actually predate Art Basel Miami Beach, and they feature an impressive array of galleries with modern and contemporary works. Other fairs include Aqua, Red Dot Art Fair and Select Fair.
In addition to Art Basel’s Public Sector, the entire city turns into a canvas for ephemeral installations and art happenings. Neighborhood hubs for these works include South Beach, Midtown and Wynwood. It’s also a major bacchanal with VIP parties, dinners and events thrown every night.
Free Art Week Shuttle Service
In an effort to make the numerous art fairs in Miami Beach and Miami more easily accessible, the two cities have joined efforts to operate a free shuttle service that connects to the existing free transportation services and art shows in each city. For complete shuttle details, click here.
Museum Mile Cultural Pass
While you’re here soak up the local culture through Miami’s vast array of world-class museums. The Miami Beach Museum Mile Cultural Pass includes discounted admission to four top museums and other special benefits. The pass includes admission to the Bass Museum of Art, the Wolfsonian, the Jewish Museum of Florida and the World Erotic Art Museums. As an added bonus, visitors with the Museum Mile Cultural Pass will get special discounts of 15 percent or greater at over 20 popular Miami Beach restaurants.
For a full list of all Art Basel events, visit artbasel.com/miami-beach.