Art Basel turned 21 in Miami & morphed into Miami Art Week

Art Basel - Miami Art Week
Courtesy of Art Basel

It’s So Much More Than Just an Art Fair: a multi-sensory explosion.

This is the 21st year of Art Basel being in Miami as a sister city to the Basel, Switzerland fair. Every year something new is added to the Miami Art Week landscape to keep all the global art visitors, jetsetters, scenesters and celebrities titillated.

Art Basel is just an art fair staged in the Miami Beach Convention Center, albeit with some of the very best contemporary art in the world on display from the top art galleries selected to participate. Not just any gallery can be a part of Art Basel. They need to be invited.

But what has happened all around this prestigious Art Basel Fair that debuted back in 2002, is truly an explosion of stimulation for all the senses in not only Miami Beach, but Miami and beyond. Almost every hotel, art museum and public space embraces this week with their own version of visual stimulation.

Newcomers for the next generation

These newbies include Elrow, which leaves a mark of euphoria on Miami with electronic music accompanied by artful splashes in the sky, this year with a serpent theme at Factory Town in Miami. Art With Me is another out-of-the-ordinary Art Week activation held on Virginia Key beach, an immersive and transformative art experience for all your senses. It breathes a breath of fresh air revitalizing the connection between people, nature and interconnectivity.

Art with Me

Miami Art Week

Miami Art Week now includes about 20 international fairs from five continents consisting of 1,200 galleries. It starts off with a variety of vernissages for an assortment of art fairs from tents on the beach in South Beach including Untitled and SCOPE to Art Miami and Context in tents on the bay in Miami to Red Dot and Spectrum at the Mana Convention Center in Wynwood, and finally to the most important, Art Basel in the Miami Beach Convention Center and Design Miami in an adjacent tent.

Design Miami 2023 exterior. Photo credit: James Harris

Some additional vernissages include fabulous Faena Hotel and Acqua Art Fair in South Beach hotel rooms and museum shows like ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art in the Design District. There are even more, like NADA at the Ice Palace Studios in Miami and PINTA at the Hanger in Coconut Grove. There is just so much to see and not enough hours in the day to see them all. And the wall-to-wall traffic and the scarcity of enough Ubers make going the distance even tougher during this jam-packed Miami Art Week.

SCOPE beach art

The Art of the Party

And of course, the biggest draw of all seems to be the “Art of the Party”. Each year, party throwers all vie for the best guest lists and biggest bashes splashed with the right A-List celebs. And the winner this year perhaps, goes to Casadonna, the new bayfront restaurant/lounge in the historic Miami Women’s Club along with another A-Lister soiree at Wayne Boich’s mansion on North Bay Road. Robert DeNiro was in town on behalf of Tribeca Film Festival and made the party rounds along with Leonardo DiCaprio and supermodel Cindy Crawford and hubby, Randi Gerber plus quarterback star, Tom Brady among many more like Snoop Dog etc…


Miami Art Week highlights

Miami Art Week highlights this year were hard to narrow down to a select few. Art Basel always leads the pack with an attendance of 79,000 coming to view their 277 international galleries from 92 countries. Sales were robust at Art Basel with top galleries like Gagosian, Pace and Hauser & Wirth selling the majority of their works on day one. Their galleries were filled to the gills like subway cars for the top collectors preview day.

Courtesy of Art Basel – P.P.O.W. Gallery

Design Miami showcased over 50 galleries of historic and contemporary collectible design. Most seemed to have cool organic themed displays this year, with a standout being Zaha Hadid’s limited edition glass tables. Celebrity sightings included singer Shakira, Victoria Beckham, and Cindy Crawford among others. Two other Design Miami partners stood out from the crowd. These included Birkenstock shoes which created a rainforest-like installation that offered guests foot massages and the super talented Turkish jewelry designer, Sevan Bicakci whose jewels all tell a story.

David Gill Gallery – Zaha Hadid furniture at Design Miami 2023. Image courtesy of James Harris for Design Miami

Art Miami and Context showcased 240 exhibitors from 31 countries with 900 artists on display.  Strong sales were reported with a special homage to the late Botero. Celebs strolling the fair included Will Smith, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Wynn and more.

SCOPE on the beach had 110 presentations from 24 countries and saw Michel Bay, Tiesto and tennis star, Nick Kyrgios in their aisles. Like at many of the art fairs, art talks were scheduled throughout the week at SCOPE. One topic was “hope and change”.

SCOPE live performance art

Untitled Art Fair, at the tent next door, curates a more upscale version of art displays. This year 55,000 visitors passed through Untitled filled with 166 exhibitors from 38 countries. The curatorial themes were “Gender Equality in the Arts” and “Curating in the Digital Age.”

Faena Art always a showstopper

Probably the most unique art of the week was compliments of Faena Hotel and their Faena Art program. Chilean artist, Sebastian Errazuriz was the talk of the town with two unique art installations at Faena.

Faena Art Maze

Errazuriz presented “MAZE: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self”, a physical maze made of sand that visitors were able enter on Faena Beach, designed using AI platforms. Errazuriz said, “This is the first maze designed not to get lost, but instead to find ourselves”.

Errazuriz’s other artwork on display at the Faena Hotel indoor entrance space was a marble sculpture “Battle of the Corporate Nations”, which portrayed tech giants Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in a humorous struggle reminiscent of mythological battles.

Until next year

This year, all the locals were happiest when Monday rolled around, and the traffic eased up and the parties slowed down. Until next year, good riddance, Miami Art Week 2023. Wishing everyone a 2024 full of more artsy-fartsy surprises.

Hope Gainer

Vitti Lugano, a modern story that draws inspiration from the past
Vitti Lugano

Vitti Lugano, a modern story that draws inspiration from the past

An exclusive and evocative location entirely focused on hospitality

BRAFA 2024, a guarantee of quality for art lovers
Brafa 2024

BRAFA 2024, a guarantee of quality for art lovers

132 galleries of 14 countries at BRAFA 2024, @Brussels Expo, 28/1-4/2

You May Also Like
Share via
Send this to a friend