By Elise Black —— Having recently returned from Miami which becomes the epicenter of the art world for one week in early December, I find myself still digesting all of the sights, sounds, people, and of course the artwork that was on display. Each year, contemporary art professionals and enthusiasts from around the globe descend upon the city to display, view, collect and covet art… and of course to people watch (none of which is likely to disappoint)!
Whether your mission is to attempt to attend all of the 20 or so fairs, or to get to some of the art museums, private collections, galleries and art studios, no trip to Miami is complete without strolling the streets of the Wynwood, Art District where you will see one of the world’s most extensive and concentrated displays of street art. The city is truly alive and pulsing with art and creative energy! Art Basel, considered to be the most important art fair held in the US, inhabited the newly renovated and re-imagined Miami Beach Convention Center. The show was in its 17th year and attracted over 83,000 visitors over the course of 5 days where attendees viewed the work of blue chip and world acclaimed artists, and were able to sign up for various art related discussions scheduled throughout the course of the show. Design Miami, just across from the convention center was a place to ohh and ahh over collectable and functional design pieces. Admission to Art Miami, the original and longest running anchor fair, included its sister shows: Context and Aqua (which is a hotel based, super cool venue where visitors enjoyed a relaxed and intimate vibe and were able to procure works by young, emerging and mid-career artists. The temporary “galleries” at the classic South Beach Aqua Hotel were actually emptied out hotel rooms surrounding a courtyard where a DJ was spinning music into the evening on Saturday as visitors wandered in and out of the rooms. Many other satellite fairs have popped up over the years, Ink Miami, who’s focus is on works on paper, is in it’s 13th year . Prizm, a fair which took place in the Little Haiti/ Little River area this year was created to highlight “emerging African artists and artists from the Global African Diaspora who are traditionally unrepresented by galleries in the mainstream art world”, according to the fair’s director. For art lovers, Miami is the ultimate destination. Getting the most out of your visit during the busiest time of the year requires a little planning. If you are considering attending next year, here are some helpful links to give you a head start! I found this link to be helpful in listing and describing the fairs as well as other art destinations: http://art-collecting.com/miami_art_fairs.htm
A shout out to Shayne Benowitz for compiling a guide to assist in navigating the traffic: https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/events/art-basel/how-to-get-around-miami-during-art-basel
…..Don’t forget to pack some comfortable yet fashionable shoes!