One of the best things about Art Basel and Art Week is the surprises that crop up along the way. But some things need to go on your agenda ASAP. Here are a few:
Gallerist/curator Anthony Spinello and downtown’s Brickell City Centre are once again teaming up in a non-traditional, non-commercial (and completely free) FREE! Site-specific installations, videos and performances explore ever-shifting concepts of race, gender, nationality, sexuality and religions. Participating artists include Genevieve Gaignard, Norberto Rodriguez, Antonia Wright, Cara Despain, Amanda Keeley and Wangechi Mutu. The festival runs Dec. 6-9, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., throughout Brickell City Centre, 701 S. Miami Ave., downtown Miami; //www.freepublic.art. Free.
POP MEETS MINIMAL
For the fourth year, art-world superstars Jeffrey Deitch, dealer and curator, and gallery Gagosian are taking over the Design District’s Moore Building for a massive showcase of works by some of the finest artists of the contemporary age. This year’s exhibition, “Pop Minimalism/Minimalist Pop,” explores two intertwined movements of the 1960s, Pop and Minimalism. Pop — made famous by Andy Warhol — makes use of mass media images (yes, those Campbell soup cans). Minimalism leans on simple, geometric forms and industrial materials. While these two approaches might seem at odds, Deitch and Gagosian explore commonalities that continue to influence today’s artists. Open Dec. 5-9, 191 NE 40th St., Miami Design District. Free.
Now in its third year, the RED auction to fight HIV AIDS comes to Miami in a collaboration between Bono, artist Theaster Gates and architect Sir David Adjaye. The live bidding event is by invite only, but anyone can view the works donated by artists including Ai Weiwei, Frank Gehry, Wangechi Mutu, Jenny Saville and Jeff Koons between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7, also at the Moore Building. Free.
Alan Faena, the distinctive designer, hotelier and arts patron behind the Faena Arts District on Miami Beach, launches the inaugural Faena Festival. “This is Not America”, Dec. 3-9, celebrates Miami’s role as a international welcome point. Site-specific installations, films, artistic performances, meditation sessions and commissioned works (including Miya Ando’s massive wrap of the Versailles hotel) are scheduled throughout the hotel (3201 Collins Avenue), beach, grounds and nearby Renzo Piano-designed Faena Forum (3300 Collins). It all kicks off Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. on the beach in front of the Faena hotel; events are free and open to the public. Some events require tickets (including a midnight to 5 a.m. after party with Mnroy in the Faena Theater). Information and schedule at faenafestival.com.
TALKS OF THE TOWN
- Dec. 5, 4:30 p.m.: If you’ve been to Houston’s Rothko chapel or Menil Collection, you have the late Dominque and John de Menil to thank. Architect Francois de Menil, design editor Wendy Goodman and Harvard graduate architecture school chair Mark Lee discuss the Menils and their influence with author William Middleton at Design Miami/ in the tent at 19th Street and Meridian Avenue, Miami Beach. Included with Design Miami/ ticket ($27 online, $32 onsite, reductions for students and seniors.) designmiami.com.
- Dec. 5, 5-8 p.m.: Artist and scholar David Driskell and Professor Curlee R. Holton, executive direction of University of Maryland’s David C. Driskell Center, discuss the contributions of African American artists to America’s art legacy, as part of the Prizm Fair at the DuPont Building, 169 E. Flagler Street, downtown Miami. Free. www.prizmartfair.com.
- Dec. 7, 10 a.m.: If you couldn’t snag a ticket for Christo’s sold-out talk at Perez Art Museum, you can catch at Art Basel’s Art Conversations when he speaks with Hans Ulrich Obrist of London’s Serpentine Galleries. Their conversation will be followed by a second talk between artist Tomas Saraceno and Obrist. Tip: Arrive early. Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach. Free (no fair access required.) artbasel.com.
- Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m.: Feminist artist Judy Chicago’s work seems ever more relevant in the #MeToo era. She discusses the struggle for gender equality and recognition for artists with star curator / dealer Jeffrey Deitch in a presentation that is sure to pack the house. (Don’t miss her shows, now at ICA-Miami in the Design District and at Nina Johnson Gallery, 6315 NW Second Ave.) Miami Beach Convention Center. Free (no fair access required.) artbasel.com.
- Dec. 9, noon: Though only 42 years old, Hank Willis Thomas’s work with identity has made him one of America’s most important contemporary artists. Stave off your art exhaustion until after his Dec. 9 talk at noon at University of Miami’s Storer Auditorium. His presentation caps the Lowe Art Museum’s annual Art Basel brunch, a bargain at $12.50. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. www.lowe.miami.edu.
Bethany Collins’ “The Litany” installation uses one of America’s most beloved songs, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” to mark critical moments of racist violence. On Thursday, Dec. 6, volunteers and small choirs will perform the 100 versions of this American anthem that are part of Collins’ work. Stop in anytime between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for this moving presentation. 3852 N. Miami Ave, Miami Design District. Free. www.locustprojects.org
Afrobeat musical collective Antibalas, Kilo Kish, cocktails, dancing and art (including the Christo exhibit) — it’s got to be Perez Art Museum’s annual Art Basel Week bash. The ever-popular party runs 9 a.m. to midnight on Thursday, Dec. 6, at PAMM, 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Open to Sustaining-level members ($200 annually) and above. www.pamm.org.
MEET THE ARTISTS
MOCA’s “AFRICOBA: Messages to the People” exhibit marks 50 years since the founding of the black artist collective that helped define the 1960s and 70s. Curator Jeffreen M. Hayes and founding and early collective members will be on hand for a Dec. 6 opening celebration from 8- 11 p.m. at N.E. 125th St., North Miami; //mocanomi.org. $20.