Art Basel Miami Beach Is Back, Smaller But Ready To Party


MIAMI BEACH – It’s back. The annual Art Basel Miami Beach fair, which was canceled last year due to Covid-19, will be showcased across the region next week. Starting Tuesday, invite-only hours and open to the public Thursday through Saturday, the city’s Convention Center will feature a dizzying number of satellite art fairs, pop-up shows and celebrities, along with 253 galleries displaying works. – spiked special dinners.

A sprawling cultural circus dubbed “Miami Art Week,” complete with corporate branding work, from a sculptural forest by stage designer Es Devlin (commissioned by a Chanel fragrance) to a “Yacht the Basel” festival hosted by Basel. Cheetos are snack food with dynamic original artwork created from the iconic orange powder of Cheetos.

The return of Basel’s Miami fair couldn’t be early enough for gallerists from around the world who are about to gather in Florida. Contemporary art auctions break records once again, while overall gallery sales are sluggish. Economist Dr. A mid-year Art Basel and UBS report by Clare McAndrew found that nearly half of the 700 dealers surveyed saw a sustained decline in sales in the first six months of 2021. Mega-dealers like Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner, blue-chip rosters and multiple outposts quickly rebounded, according to the report. However, many small dealers who relied on Art Basel to develop new customers and promote emerging talent had difficulties.

Art Basel’s global director, Marc Spiegler, is able to pinpoint the exact moment when Miami’s resurgent art craze kicks off: September 20, when the US government said in November it will lift the Covid travel ban on most visitors from Europe and Asia, thus making Miami more difficult. . The first truly international trade show in the US since the start of the pandemic.

Spiegler’s phone immediately started burning with messages from dealers who had previously opted out: “More than 30 galleries had not been ‘cancelled’ by the end of that week,” despite all the grunts that said, “fair fatigue” There was still no digital alternative to buying and selling art in the flesh. Almost half of the exhibitors will now come from overseas and Latin America. “I’ve read all the speculation that art fairs are over and no one will be traveling anymore,” Spiegler continued. “We have only a marginally smaller show than in 2019.”

This is undoubtedly a relief for the Swiss MCH Group, a shareholder of Art Basel. reports shows that they have lost more than $109 million since the start of the pandemic. Still, if the return of the Miami fair is a reason for MCH to cheer, the other two art fairs – Art Basel Hong Kong scheduled for March 2022 and its flagship Art Basel in Switzerland scheduled for June 2022 – remain elusive. Even putting aside the growing wave of government oppression and censor Hong Kong has a mandatory quarantine of up to three weeks for visitors entering the city. Come March, if this quarantine continues, Spiegler said it’s hard to imagine a full-fledged Basel fair happening. And with Covid infections rising again in Europe and leading to new quarantines, no one can predict what June will bring.

For Art Basel, these potential revenue losses make the smooth running of the Miami fair even more important. Entry tickets are now timed to avoid crowds and require proof of a Covid vaccine or a recent negative test, such as wearing a mask. These protocols may seem familiar and reassuring to visitors from New York or Los Angeles, but they are almost nonexistent in Miami. Local officials found him rejected by Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who was trying to mask them. face Republican opposition to the Biden administration’s virus policies, however, is not up for debate for Spiegler.

“When you bring together thousands of people from all over the world, the only thing that makes sense is to wear masks,” he said. And what if an exhibitor, say, a billionaire art collector, refuses to follow mask instructions? Will Basel’s security physically remove them from the Convention Centre? “This is what it means to have mask authority,” Spiegler replied resolutely.

Beyond Art Basel, the mood in Miami’s year-round art scene is not uncertain. Superblue, a joint venture between heavyweight Pace gallery and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, opened last spring in a renovated 31,000-square-foot warehouse in the Allapattah neighborhood. Photographiska, the global privately owned photography museum series, announced that it’s not too late to move into a 42,000-square-foot warehouse right next to the Rubell Museum with its David Rockwell-designed building set. It will open in 2023.

And business is strong in the city’s leading galleries. also Fredric Snitzer GalleryThings got as busy there as at any point during his six-year tenure, director Joshua Veasey said. He thanks resident collectors who have fled cities in the north or west, surviving the coronavirus in their new Miami residence, which has started visiting the gallery for the first time.

“It’s been redecorated a lot after being inside for so long,” Veasey joked. “These are the problems of the rich.” Still, the fresh faces in the gallery haven’t come from Miami’s newcomer “tech bros”, from Bryan Goldberg, Miami’s new media magnate, to PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. mayor of the city. New low-key clients have more typical collector backgrounds in finance and real estate development.

What drips from the tech industry is the love for all things NFT. Arts Week hosts a surprising array of NFT-themed meetings, including all-day events. NFT.BZL Conference featuring a bloated list of NFT artists, technical figures, and both city and county mayors. One of many new NFT markets, extremely rare, even hired engineers super world Installing 20 3D sculptures in Art Basel’s Convention Center that can only be viewed in their app – is a new way to avoid effective eyeballs while avoiding the fair’s curatorial committees and booth fees of around $60,000 (and more).

“I was skeptical at first, I wanted to see if NFTs would have a lifespan of more than five minutes,” said the Miami multimedia artist. Carlos Betancourtis one of the few built-in native capabilities that have adopted the new blockchain-based environment. He said the key to his comfort is finding a platform. Aorist, with a curator, Ximena Caminos, was already a long-time supporter of his work. That, and Aorist’s desire to produce a real-life version of the NFT piece seen only on screen “What Lies Beneath” This shows the rapid melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming. The result, whose sale would benefit a local underwater sculpture park, is a pair of fake icebergs, one 20 feet high and 30 feet wide, wrapped in collages by Sven-Olof Lindblad. photos real icebergs and float in the oceanfront pool of the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach.

While room rates in Faena from $3,300 per night to $5,500 for ocean views may limit the audience for “What Lies Beneath,” it will still be hard to avoid seeing Betancourt’s artwork and diverse styles in Miami next week. Animated silhouettes of Florida wildlife “Into The Everglades”, run every night next to the 35-storey InterContinental Miami hotel in the city centre; A 38-foot-long string of 245 handmade amulets commissioned by the city of Miami Beach, “Milagro!” will hang on a busy city boulevard; and two photos — homoerotic portraits He and his longtime partner and collaborator, architect Alberto Latorre, will appear in a group show called “Skin in the Game” at a Beach store.

Her ubiquity, Betancourt said Miami’s museums and collectors are proof that the city is finally embracing its own artists, with Art Basel’s interest in the work done in Miami. “People have had an inferiority complex here for years,” he continued, recalling his youthful arrival from Puerto Rico in 1980 and discovering an art scene that very often looked elsewhere for direction. Change will be evident next week as local institutions proudly showcase work rooted in Miami’s social fabric.

To start with Anastasia Samoylova’s “FloodZone” photos, HistoryMiami the museum captures an often surreal visual interplay of flora, fauna and crumbling concrete; Gary Monroe’s “Refusenix” photos at Florida International University Miami Beach City Studios It presents a poignant study of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union in the early ’80s building new lives in a then-dissolving South Beach; and Jared McGriff’s extraterrestrial paintings NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale It depicts visions of black life that are simultaneously problematic and excitingly gorgeous.

This serious-minded piece of art is presented in the context of a tropical weekly party. If that seems contradictory, Betancourt believes it was precisely embracing this contradiction that ultimately made Miami an arts city: “We enjoy the party, and it shows in our work,” he said. “That’s what Miami brings into the equation – we do everything without apology.”


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