Art Basel Miami Beach: What to Know Before Going

Art Basel Miami Beach: What to Know Before Going

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I was hoping to catch some sun during my trip to Miami Beach this year, but instead, I was met with torrential downpours almost every day during my 5-night stay in the seaside city. Ironically, it also poured during my first days at Art Basel in Switzerland, this past June too!

In any case, the colorful architecture, blue-chip art fairs, and super cheap Ubers made up for the dreary weather. This was my second trip to Art Basel in Miami, but my first time visiting all of the major satellite fairs.

How to Visit Art Basel Miami Beach

Anyone can attend the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair. You just need to purchase tickets to gain entry. Discounts are available for Florida residents.

The fair is held annually during the first weekend of December at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The space the fair is held in is massive and it can definitely be overwhelming. A minimum of several hours are needed just to get through everything, so in the interest of saving my poor feet, what I did was map out the galleries I especially wanted to visit beforehand.

Where to Stay in Miami Beach

During my downtime, I was super excited to explore beautiful Miami Beach! I still remember the very first time I visited the city. I was completely in awe of the soft, pastel-toned art deco architecture by day that turned neon bright at night. It was a city that transformed seamlessly. And of course, the beaches were beyond gorgeous.

Here are the best hotels in Miami Beach which aren’t too far from the Convention Center:

  • The W Hotel Miami
  • The Edition Hotel
Miami Beach

Where to Eat During Art Basel Miami Beach

You can certainly eat at the fair itself, but there are also plenty of delicious restaurants around the area for you to grab lunch or dinner.

Miami Beach Lunch

Artists to Watch

Katharina Fritsch, Art Basel Miami
  • Katharina Fritsch
  • Ai WeiWei
  • Jesus-Rafael Soto
  • Doug Aitken
  • Willem De Kooning
  • Retna
  • Mel Bochner
  • Simon Hantai

Galleries to Watch

This year’s Art Basel Miami Beach brought many familiar artists and galleries from around the world. As usual, I was drawn to the more minimal style works – like Elmgreen & Dragset’s stark black table with white dining plates and John Armleder’s silver balls composition. Gary Webb’s mirrored palm tree was quite popular among the crowd, a fitting choice for the fair’s location!

At every fair, there is usually one artwork that serves as a centerpiece for the fair, and this year that work was an enormous tree installation by Ai Weiwei – although Jimmie Durham’s car-crushing boulder comes in at a close second!

Here is my selection of top works from the fair at the Miami Convention Center!

Art Basel Entrance
Elmgreen & Dragset, Table for Bergam, 2009 at Massimo De Carlo
Elmgreen & Dragset, Table for Bergam, 2009
John Armleder, Jingle Bells, 1998, Massimo De Carlo
John Armleder, Jingle Bells, 1998
Works by Ged Quinn & Yinka Shonibare
Works by Ged Quinn & Yinka Shonibare
Ged Quinn
Ged Quinn

Stephen Friedman

Tom Friedman and Melvin Edwards at Stephen Friedman
Tom Friedman and Melvin Edwards
Melvin Edwards
Melvin Edwards
Jimmie Durham, Still Life With Xitle and Spirit, 2007
Jimmie Durham, Still Life With Xitle and Spirit, 2007
Michael Craig-Martin at Alan Cristea
Works by Michael Craig-Martin
Gary Webb, Me & My Drawing, 2015
Gary Webb, Me & My Drawing, 2015
Gary Webb at The Approach Gallery

Neuger-Riemschneider

Neuger-Riemschneider Booth
A tree sculpture by Ai Weiwei
Xu Zhen, Under Heaven, 2014
Xu Zhen, Under Heaven, 2014
Peles Empire
Peles Empire
Olaf Metzel at Wentrup Booth
Olaf Metzel
Nari Ward, Spellbound, 2015, at Lehmann Maupin
Nari Ward, Spellbound, 2015
Nari Ward, Spellbound, 2015, at Lehmann Maupin
Nari Ward, Spellbound, 2015
Tracey Emin, Your Lips Moved Across My Face, 2015
Tracey Emin, Your Lips Moved Across My Face, 2015
Jason Martin, Bad Die UP, 2014
Jason Martin, Bad Die UP, 2014
Efrain Almeida and Tom LaDuke at CRG
Works by Efrain Almeida and Tom LaDuke
Doug Aiken
Doug Aiken, Flag (mirror), 2015

Art Basel Miami

Heading to Art Basel in Miami next year?

Be sure to reserve your hotel and airfare as early as possible!

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