In Miami, the first week of December means nonstop art, thanks to Art Basel in Miami Beach and the many satellite fairs that have grown up around it. This year’s Art Basel fair features 269 exhibitors from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa who will offer artworks by modern masters, leading contemporary artists and those just beginning to make a name for themselves.
All the works at the fair are for sale. Granted, most are for those with well-padded wallets. But take a good look around; some prices fall within the range of mortals. And all can be seen for the price of an admission ticket — a lot less than trooping to museums and galleries all across the world, and more convenient by far.
Art Basel Global Director Marc Spiegler and Noah Horowitz, director for the Americas, fill us in on this year’s fair.
MIAMI HERALD: What will be different about Art Basel in Miami Beach this year?
HOROWITZ: Last year I was pleased with how serious the show looked, which is a reflection on both the quality of individual works and the broader thematic installations. We anticipate the same quality yet again this year, with thoughtful presentations in all sectors, but particularly in Survey, which focuses on work from before 2000 and offers the opportunity to reconsider artists whose market may not accurately reflect their critical importance.
MIAMI HERALD: What highlights should we expect?
HOROWITZ: I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Rita Ponce de León and Ishmael Randall Weeks at Ignacio Liprandi, Max Hooper Schneider at High Art, Wong Ping’s video installation with Edouard Malingue Gallery and also Galerie Leme’s presentation of Vivian Caccuri, who works with sound and who was a special discovery for me at the latest edition of the São Paulo Biennial in September.
MIAMI HERALD: How do you keep the fair fresh so collectors and connoisseurs will want to come back?
HOROWITZ: While we value innovation, we believe that our collectors come to Art Basel because of the quality of the galleries and the work being presented, and thus we prioritize this above all else. This year, I’m particularly excited about the fact that we have a dozen new entrants to the Galleries sector, spanning an elite younger generation of gallerists like Altman Siegel (U.S.), GALLERYSKE (India), Labor (Mexico) and Gregor Podnar (Germany), as well as established names like Galerie Greta Meert (Belgium) and a wealth of specialists in the modern period, including Bergamin & Gomide (Brazil), Di Donna (U.S.) and Menconi + Schoelkopf (U.S.).
MIAMI HERALD: How is the renovation project at the Miami Beach Convention Center affecting this year’s fair?
HOROWITZ: Vsitors will certainly be able to see some evidence of construction to the convention center, but this is mainly limited to the exterior of the building. All eyes are on the future, of course, and in 2017 we’re excited about the prospect of introducing a new floor plan and, by 2018, to inaugurating the completed state-of-the-art facility.
MIAMI HERALD: Are there particular challenges facing this year’s fair?
HOROWITZ: The city is deeply concerned with issues such as traffic and construction that affect both local residents and visitors, and is doing its absolute best to address and remedy these concerns on an ongoing basis. One notable upside this year is that the Venetian Causeway will be reopened in time for the fair, providing more-fluid access between South Beach and downtown Miami.
MIAMI HERALD: Art auction prices have been mixed this past year. How do you expect that to affect Art Basel?
SPIEGLER: Auctions reflect just a small section of the overall market — while a sale typically has 100 lots from several dozen artists, our galleries will present works by over 4,000 artists at Art Basel in Miami Beach. We are confident that Art Basel's galleries will bring strong works in a range of mediums, themes and price points — as they have always done — and that we can expect another successful edition with strong sales.
Art Basel in Miami Beach
When: December 1-4; public hours begin at 3 p.m. Dec. 1.
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach.
Cost: One-day ticket: $50 online, $55 onsite; college students and seniors 62 and older, $34; those under 12 free when with adult. Run of show ticket: $105 online, $115 onsite. Combo ticket with Design Miami/: $60 online, $65 onsite.
Parking: Valet parking available at the convention center; public lots are located at the Convention Center and at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Parking fills quickly.