Whether you’re an art aficionado or a first-timer, here’s what you’ll need to know to get the best of this year’s Miami Art Week fairs and events.
Q: What is Miami Art Week?
Miami Art Week was spawned in 2001 when a famous European art fair, Art Basel, made Miami its U.S. home. Now it involves almost two dozen art fairs, exhibits all around town and events, talks and panels. Many events are free.
Q: When is it?
This year it begins pretty much now. Most fairs open Dec. 6 or 7 and run through the weekend.
Q: If I’m not an art collector or art aficionado, why would I want to go?
A couple of reasons. One is that it’s fun. Another is that this week literally has changed the world’s perception of Miami, which in turn has brought jobs, companies and real estate sales. And it is a truly remarkable opportunity to see first-rate art from all over the world without getting on a plane.
Q: What’s the difference between Art Basel and Art Miami?
Art Basel in Miami Beach is the main event, with 268 of the world’s top galleries showcasing modern, contemporary and cutting-edge work. It’s the No. 1 draw for the jetsetters, and most everything is for sale. It is a sister fair to Art Basel, held each June in Switzerland. It is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1900 Convention Center Drive.
Design Miami/ is another sister fair also held this week in Miami Beach; it focuses on furniture, jewelry and other design objects. It is held in a giant tent on the west side of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Art Miami is the city’s longest-running fair and popular with both locals who don’t want to trek to Miami Beach, and increasingly, with collectors. Prices typically are slightly less than at Art Basel, though even here most works are beyond the wallet of most of us. This year, it has moved from its previous home in Wynwood to the former Miami Herald site on Biscayne Bay at 14th Street. It also has a sister fair, CONTEXT, for emerging works; the price of entry is included with your Art Miami ticket.
Q: How do you pronounce Basel?
It’s an art fair, not an herb.
The correct answer is Baah-sel (like a sheep.) The name comes from a Swiss city that is home to the original Art Basel fair.
BA-sel would be the leafy herb you put on your mozzarella-and-tomato salad.
Q: How can I get tickets?
Do yourself a favor and buy them online; it will save you money and time. Here’s the 101:
▪ Art Basel in Miami Beach, artbasel.com, opens to the public at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, and runs through Sunday. Day tickets cost $50 online, $60 at the door, $36 for college students and seniors 62 and over. Group tickets require advance registration; run-of-show tickets are offered.
▪ Art Miami, artmiami.com, opens to the public at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6 and runs through Sunday. Day tickets for Art Miami and Context cost $50 and $35 for seniors 62-plus and students 12-18 (under 12 free with adult). Multi-day passes cost $95 and include sister fair Art Aqua.
▪ Design Miami/: designmiami.com, opens to the public at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 6 and runs through Sunday. Day tickets cost $25 online, $30 at the door. Students and seniors with ID pay $20 online, $25 at the door. Combo tickets with Art Basel cost $65 online, $75 at the door. Group tickets require advance registration; run-of-show tickets are offered.
Q: What’s the best time to go?
For Art Basel, it’s Sunday right when the fair opens. Most of the jetsetters are gone, and everybody else is still having brunch.
For Art Miami, Wednesday is a great day. Alternative: First thing when the fair opens (11 a.m.) on any day.
Art Miami’s move is a big bonus. First, you can get there by MetroMover. (The best stop is Arsht Center — the old Omni stop; take the Outer Loop from Government Center to Omni.) If you insist on driving, you can park at the Omni complex across the street ($20.)
From there, you can take a free road shuttle to the Miami Beach Convention Center or (more fun), scheduled special water taxi service that runs Dec. 7-10 ($15 each way) from the marina just north of Art Miami (at the Marriott) to Miami Beach. (The second stop, at Purdy Avenue, is a 20-minute walk or short Uber/Lyft ride to Art Basel.)
Once you’re on Miami Beach, a free shuttle runs between many of the fairs.
New this year
The big news this year is Flagler Street. Moishe Mana, the New York investor who owns 40 acres in Wynwood, has also bought up properties all along Flagler Street in downtown Miami. During Art Week, he’s handing over the spaces to the Prizm Fair, with works, pop-ups and performances centered on black art; and a host of other exhibits.
Also new — and free! — is the Institute of Contemporary Art in the Miami Design District. It will be here after Art Week ends, so you can visit whenever you like.
Also new, in its way, is the recently reopened Bass on Miami Beach. It, too, will be open after art week, but if you’re visiting the sculptures at Art Public in Collins Park (2100 Collins Avenue), you’ll want to visit the renovated museum.
Art in a day
So you’ve only got one day for art, and it’s on the weekend? Here are three possible itineraries:
Option 1: Hit both the big fairs.
Arrive at the Omni complex by 11 a.m. (Take MetroMover or park in the Omni, $20 for the day.) Take a free shuttle or taxi/Lyft/Uber to the Miami Beach Convention Center, where Art Basel opens at noon. Spend 2-3 hours; have lunch at the fair.
Return to the Art Miami area. (The water taxi leaves Purdy Avenue at 2:40 and 4:10.) Art Miami stays open until 8 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday.)
Option 2: Stick to the beach.
Grab brunch on the Beach; arrive at Art Basel when it opens at noon. When your eyes begin to glaze, head outside. Grab a shuttle or a car and head to UNTITLED, SCOPE or PULSE.
Faired out? Hit the art tent on the beach at the Nautilus Hotel (1825 Collins Avenue); cover your children’s eyes when you pass the Suzy Kellems Dominik 12-foot neon orgasming vulva in the hotel lobby. Or head to the Museum of Ice Cream installation at 3400 Collins Avenue (advance tickets required, museumoficecream.com/miami.)
Option 3: Stay on the mainland.
Be at Art Miami when it opens at 11. Grab a Lyft/taxi/Uber to Wynwood lunch. If you’re ready for more art, head south to PINTA, Spectrum, Red Dot or NADA fairs; all are within walking distance of Art Miami. (And of you haven’t been lately to the Perez Art Museum Miami, this is the day.)
Ready for the outdoors? Check out the Basel House mural Festival at the old RC Cola Plant.
Art of Black
If you’re looking for artists of color during Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week, look no further than Miami’s historic black neighborhood and the city’s Haitian enclave. Overtown has become the hot spot for black and Caribbean art during Miami Art Week, while Little Haiti showcases a profound collection of talented Haitian artists. This year’s collection of black exhibits range from artists celebrating the cultural fabric of the African diaspora to works reflecting today’s heightened sociopolitical themes.
Along with Art Africa Miami, Prizm, Art Beat Miami, Soul Basel, Yeelen, Haitian Heritage Museum, and Now Or Neverland Art Fair, a number of Black artists are also on exhibit at satellite fairs including Spectrum Miami, YoungArts and PULSE.
Works under $500
OK, so you don’t have an extra $40,000 (or $4 million) lying around, but you still might be tempted to buy. We canvassed a few of our experts (writers Anne Tschida and Siobhan Morrissey, and art consultant Lisa Austin) and came up with these hunting grounds.
Word to the wise: Art can increase in value, but often doesn’t — especially when acquired at a low price point. Buy things you love, and you’ll enjoy them regardless of price.
▪ NADA (New Art Dealers Association), at the Ice Palace: While prices have risen even here, you can find some limited-edition photographs, other multiples and even original works here that fall under $500. Tip: Go on Thursday if you can.
▪ Fridge Art Fair, at the Blue Moon Hotel. This show focuses on small works — many with small prices.
▪ Ink, at the Suites of Dorchester: These works on paper are all limited-edition multiples. While most will be outside the budget, it’s worth a look around.
▪ Satellite Art Show, at the Ocean Terrace Hotel, run by artists, describes itself as “the antagonist to the standard fair.”
▪ AquaArt, at the Aqua Hotel, features fresh talent that is often more affordable.
▪ Local galleries: Don’t forget them! During Art Week and beyond, local galleries feature work that sometimes falls within this range. Even when they don’t, you’ll have fun looking.
Don’t miss these!
Based on our early reconnaissance, you won’t want to miss these. (Check out more immersive art at Miami.com.)
▪ Knight-time celebration: Catch performances on the Knight Plaza plus free entry to Perez Art Museum Miami AND the Frost Museum of Science Monday from 7 - 10 p.m. when the Knight Foundation celebrates 10 years of its Knight Arts Challenge program. Musical performers include Spam Allstars, Locos Por Juana, Afrobeta plus DJ sets by Lolo Reskin of Sweat Records and DJ Le Spam. 1103 Biscayne Boulevard.
▪ Life is not fair: There’s nothing for sale at Fair, a showcase of site-specific works by 50-plus female artists with decidedly feminist viewpoints that seem particularly relevant given current events. Artists include Gorilla Girls, Yoko Ono and Miami’s own Jillian Mayer, Natalie Alfonso and Agustina Woodgate. Curated by Miami gallerist Anthony Spinello and Zoe Lukov, director of Exhibitions at Faena, the free Fair is being staged at Brickell City Centre. www.fairmarket.art. (Tip: If you’re on the hunt for another non-commercial experience, check out Miami Street Photography Festival at HistoryMiami, miamistreetphotographyfestival.org.)
▪ “The Rinse Cycle:” This progressive-rock opera (yes, it’s a riff on Wagner’s “Ring Cycle) by Jim Shaw and D’red D’warf was 10 years in the making. It debuts in a one-night performance Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. at the Soundscape Park at New World Center, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. And its free. artbasel.com.
▪ Go virtual: What happens in Vegas apparently doesn’t really stay there. Visit Las Vegas, that city’s marketing arm, has sponsored a virtual reality installation at Zadok Gallery, 2534 North Miami Avenue, that brings Sin to the Magic City for 21+ viewers, through Dec. 9. On a more serious note, photographer Jacob Fellander combines virtual reality in his exhibition, “How to Unlock a Portal,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art - North Miami (on display through Feb. 11.) www.mocanomi.org. At CIFO Art Space, 1018 N. Miami Ave., you can use virtual reality to see artworks in Cuba. cifo.org. And Pérez Art Museum Miami launches its first augmented reality exhibition, “Invasive Species,” with works by Miami’s Felice Grodin. pamm.org.
▪ Street sense: Wynwood Walls, 2520 NW Second Ave., has commissioned a dozen new murals to be unveiled as Art Week begins. Since they’ll be here all year, you could catch them later. But if street art is your (or your kids’) passion, don’t miss the Juxtapoz Clubhouse, where adidas Skateboarding and Juxtapoz Magazine will showcase work by 14 emerging artists in the Historic Walgreen’s building at 200 E. Flagler Street. Meanwhile, on Miami Beach, the Sagamore Hotel, 1671 Collins Ave., hosts Urban Legends, including works by Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cranio, Shepard Fairey and Keith Haring. All are free.
▪ Feel the power: The 12-foot neon orgasming vulva installation “I Can Feel,” by Suzy Kellems Dominik in the Nautilus Hotel lobby will surely make you feel something — even if it’s just amused. suzykellemsdominik.com/i-can-feel/