Back in 1970, three art lovers from Basel, Switzerland, Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt founded Art Basel with one goal in mind: to connect the international art community and support the relationships between artists, galleries, collectors and institutions. Now, over 40 years later, this art fair has become a pivotal platform for the art world and its expansion, acting as a catalyst for the public interest in the visual arts.
Stephen Friedman Gallery and James Cohan Gallery.
Art Basel, which has two other annual contemporary fairs to its name, in Basel and Hong Kong, debuted in the United States back in 2002, selecting Miami Beach as its venue due to the nature of its location, the nexus between North America and Latin America, and its multi-cultural identity. “With miles of sandy beaches dotted with classic Art Deco architecture, world-class art museums, and glittering nightlife, Miami Beach ranks among America’s most iconic cities. During Art Basel, Miami embraces the art world with special exhibitions at museums and galleries across the city, transforming the week into a dense and dynamic cultural event”, say the fair organizers. The show proved to be a success and is ranked, today, at the top of the world’s art fair calendar with visitors coming from all over the world to this once a year, week-long event.
The main event, which is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, will be hosting thousands of visitors to view the exclusive artworks from more than 250 international galleries, selected through a rigorous process. Featuring modern and contemporary high art, as well as pieces by newly emerging stars, Art Basel Miami Beach is the prime platform for artists and art enthusiasts to engage with each other up close and personal. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, films, and works of the highest quality are displayed in the main exhibition hall while ambitious artworks and performances become part of the landscape at nearby beaches, Collins Park and SoundScape Park.
1. Sean Kelly Gallery. // 2. Galleria Continua.
The fair expands through a selection of sectors, which allow visitors to explore the many dimensions of modern and contemporary art, including museum-caliber paintings, sculptures and classical photography, as well as works of an outsized scale, precisely curated projects, and site-specific artworks, which take advantage of the unique Miami Beach landscape. These include: Nova, designed for galleries to present one, two or three artists showing new works that have been created within the last three years; Positions, which allows, curators, critics, and collectors to discover ambitious new talents from all over the globe by providing a platform for a single artist to present one major project; Kabinett, with participants chosen, from the Galleries sector, to present curated exhibitions in a separately delineated space within their booths; Public, where visitors have the opportunity to see outdoor sculptures, interventions, and performances, sited within an open and public exhibition format; and Film, a dynamic program of films by and about artists.
1. Galerie Hans Mayer. // 2. Galerie Krinzinger.
The show has also attracted dozens of smaller-scale, but equally prominent, satellite art fairs, which include Art Miami, Scope, Red Dot, Pulse, Art Asia, Design Miami, and many more. Similarly, these shows have also enticed a wide variety of diverse events, such as private dinners for VIP guests, exclusive concerts with underground DJs, massive parties with impressive line-ups all over South Beach and Wynwood Art District, gourmet food trucks scattered all over the city, and art walks that go on all night, featuring Miami’s most prominent galleries and street art. ■