The Art World’s Winter Playground
by Christine Schrum
At the beginning of December each year, Miami transforms into a fine-art mecca for tens of thousands of the world’s top artists, galleries, publishers and collectors. Last year alone, more than 100,000 art industry professionals flocked to Miami to take in the citywide art shows, exhibitions, gallery openings, performances and parties. This year’s hoopla takes place Dec. 2-7. If you’re going, pack your wildest outfits, your walking shoes (or stilettos if you really want to fit in) and our guide of what you can expect to see.
This is what it’s all about—or, at least, where it all started. By far the biggest draw to Miami Art Week is the fairs, both the heavy hitters, such as Art Basel and Art Miami, and the satellite fairs, including Pulse and SPECTRUM Miami. Here’s a list of some you won’t want to miss.
In its 25th year, Art Miami is among the most noteworthy contemporary art events in the United States, annually attracting more than 72,500 collectors, curators, museum professionals and art enthusiasts from around the world. The show is renowned for exceptional artwork from the 20th and 21st centuries, in collaboration with some of the world’s most respected galleries.
When: Dec. 2-7
Where: 3101 NE 1st Ave., Wynwood, Midtown Miami
Since 2002, Art Basel Miami has provided a platform for the world’s most cutting-edge artists and galleries. More than 250 exhibitors participate annually and draw more than 70,000 visitors. It all takes place in Miami Beach, a sandy strip of Art Deco architecture, acclaimed museums and unbeatable nightlife.
When: Dec. 4-7
Where: 300 W. 41st St. #214, Miami Beach
For more than a decade, Scope has held strong to its mission: It “taps into the cultural psyche to present only the most pioneering work across multiple creative disciplines.” You can expect the unexpected at this show, which features an innovative collection of international artists, galleries and curators.
When: Dec. 2-7
Where: 910 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Last year’s SPECTRUM Miami was wildly popular—both for the array of extraordinary contemporary art and the live entertainment, which ranged from a DJ and dancing to a photo shoot with the Miami City Ballet and famed photographer Jordan Matter. This juried show features an international slate of artists and galleries.
When: Dec. 3-7
Where: 3011 NE 1st Ave. at NE 30th St., Wynwood, Miami
This curated art fair is housed in a unique, temporary structure, steps away from the beach and glowing with natural light. The show is just a few years old but features a wide range of international galleries with a focus on emerging and midcareer contemporary art.
When: Dec. 3-7
Where: Ocean Drive and 12th St., South Beach, Miami
There are about 20 fairs spread throughout the city, so plan at least three to four days to ensure that you have enough time to hit most of them; though it’s virtually impossible to see everything at Miami Art Week! Other top fairs to catch include Pulse, Nada, Context, Miami Project and Select.
Art shows are just the beginning of the fun during Miami Art Week. Gallery openings and art-themed events also abound throughout the city. Most of the action centers around the Wynwood Art District and the city’s Design District.
Wynwood is home to more than 70 art galleries, antiques shops, retail stores, eclectic bars and one of the world’s largest open-air street-art installations. Once the warehouse and manufacturing district of Greater Miami, this colorful neighborhood now teems with art complexes, performance-art spaces and other creative businesses.
The Design District, at the crossroads of Wynwood, Little Haiti, historic Buena Vista and the wealthy Upper East Side, focuses more on fashion. In recent years, low-rise warehouses have been transformed into art galleries, retail spaces and cafés. The area now houses more than 130 galleries, showrooms, architecture companies, antique dealers and bars and is a well-known destination for fine art, design and fashion.
Most people tend to think of New York as the best American city for art museums, but Miami is certainly no slouch. Excellent museums dot the city’s colorful landscape. The MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Miami is home to an impressive permanent collection and an ongoing rotation of new exhibitions. Downtown, Pérez Art Museum Miami—formerly the Miami Art Museum—boasts a collection of more than 1,300 works. The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach is a small but exceptional museum with a solid collection and intriguing exhibitions. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, the de la Cruz Collection and others worth exploring.
Beyond the walls of Miami’s storied museums, art shows and galleries, there’s a world of street art to explore, particularly in the Wynwood Walls block. Here, the world’s greatest artists in the graffiti and street-art scene tag walls with arresting, colorful designs. Have your smartphone at the ready; there are plenty of photo ops.
PARTIES AND AFTER-PARTIES
Miami Art Week is one giant party for the art world. Be sure to bring cocktail attire because you’re bound to stumble upon numerous champagne receptions, gallery openings, swanky brunches, cocktail parties, after-parties and after-after-parties. Do a little Googling beforehand to find hot spots you’d like to hit. Word to the wise: SPECTRUM Miami will launch a Late Night party series during this year’s show.
Christine Schrum is editor-in-chief of DECOR Magazine and contributes regularly to Art Business News. She has extensive experience in the fine art industry, particularly in art show marketing and production, social media, blogging and magazine writing. She is currently Director of Content and Social Media for Redwood Media Group, purveyor of fine art shows and publications