Art Basel

50-foot murals, fashion shows and film: Countries boost their best at Miami Art Week

Art fairs open doors for preview

Quick tour of Art fairs "UNTITLED," "Design Miami," and the Tomás Saraceno installation for Aerocene presented by Audermars are all previewed as the launch of Miami's Art Week starts with the public opening of Art Basel on Miami Beach, Florida.
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Quick tour of Art fairs "UNTITLED," "Design Miami," and the Tomás Saraceno installation for Aerocene presented by Audermars are all previewed as the launch of Miami's Art Week starts with the public opening of Art Basel on Miami Beach, Florida.

What better time to market that luxury condo, vintage champagne or $10,000 watch than when the world’s wealthy flock to town? This year, nations from across the region have jumped into the calendar, hoping to use Miami Art Week as showcase for their nation’s cultural assets.

For Brazil Fashion Forum founder Christiano Marchesini, Miami is the natural place for a fashion hub. For the second year, he organized a two-day forum with fashion shows and discussions at Faena in the run-up to Art Week. “Our vision is to emphasize the Brazilian culture and really share this culture starting in Miami.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans are anxious to spread the word that the island is open for tourists. To help spread the message, Puerto Rican artists Don Rimx and Carlitos Skills will unveil a 50-foot mural Saturday outside the RC Cola Plant in Wynwood. The 3 p.m. fest will feature Puerto Rican music from Ramiro Malagon and island cuisine. The artists hope the mural helps unite Puerto Ricans who have remained on the island after Hurricane Maria and those who have left to settle in South Florida. And they also hope the general public will hear loud and clear that the island is open to tourists.

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“We put cultural elements like food, music, fauna...the bright colors represent the environment of Puerto Rico,” Skills said. “Puerto Rico right now after the hurricane is opening itself up in a lot of different ways.”

Among this year’s newcomers is FilmBrazil, which promotes Brazil as an advertising production hub. To boost interest, it is hosting a networking dinner and director’s showcase with Brazilian producers, animators, and sound studios.

Chile’s new partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Association of Chilean Contemporary Art Galleries is hoping to attract interest by bringing nine galleries to three fairs: PINTA Miami, Art Miami, and UNTITLED.

“We are thrilled with this first participation in Miami Art Week”, said Carlos Willson, Director of SISMICA, the partnership. “By supporting our galleries and artists, we want collectors and art enthusiasts from all over the world to see Chile’s offerings to the art panorama.”

PINTA Miami has long been a place for Latin American artists to showcase their work during Art Week. This year, Argentine curator Florencia Battiti decided to bring three artists from Rosario, in addition to two from Buenos Aires, to the fair. Battiti sees the fair as a great opportunity to open people’s eyes to places outside the country’s capital.

“For me, bringing them from Rosario and having the possibility to open those artistic links, it’s very important,” she said.

For Barbados, the VIP opening of the PRIZM fair was an opportunity to showcase both art and cuisine. Barbados’ star chef Michael Hinds prepared the meal, courtesy of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Petra Roach, Director of Visit Barbados, said she hopes Barbados’ involvement in Art Week encourages tourists to visit. “We are a very safe and welcoming destination,” Roach said. “It’s not about people staying behind the hotel walls, we want them to get out and experience the culture.”

This story has been updated to correct the location of the mural. It will be at the RC Cola Plant in Wynwood, not the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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