Miami Art Week: Art Basel and the Contemporary Landscape

Gone Too Soon

Now that we say our final goodbyes to Art Basel and decompress from our binge of art collections and reception party-hoping, we can take a retrospective look at the 16th Edition of Miami Beach’s foremost art fair in leading innovation and contemporary art  of Miami Art Week. So, let’s jump right into it.

As a result of the ongoing renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) – which is due to be completed in 2018 – Art Basel No.16 featured a completely redesigned exhibition layout, comprising a new floor plan, 10 percent more exhibition space, wider aisles, a broader range of booth sizes and larger lounge areas, all things we know the good natured art-buff’s of greater miami rejoiced about. With 268 featured premier galleries from 32 countries, all of whom presented outstanding works ranging from Modern masterpieces to contemporary painting, sculpture, performance, photography, and works on paper and film, the fair attracted an attendance of over 82,000, which included the likes of influential collectors, directors, curators, trustees and patrons of leading international museums and institutions such as: The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Innovation in Engagement

Each Basel Edition is uniquely defined by its host city, a fact which is beautifully reflected in the artistic content and creative programming produced in collaboration with local institutions and participating galleries, and this year’s roster did not disappoint.


Courtesy: © Art Basel, Artworld Talk | Is Culture in the Americas in Big Trouble?


Conversations, for instance, Art Basel’s celebrated Conversations program, attracted over 1,000 visitors throughout the course of the show. Conversations is a series that offers dynamic discussions, panels, and art talks between different artists, gallery owners, art historians, writers, museum directors and collectors from across the globe, as they tackle topics concerning the global contemporary art scene and how to navigate it’s ever-evolving climate. Two of the programs of this year were ‘Is Culture in the Americas in Big Trouble?’, which addressed the current threats to art and culture in the midst of a major conservative shift in politics and changes in economies, while ‘Is Innovation Enough for Middle-Market Galleries?’ explored the rise of new itinerant gallery models and communal sharing systems.

Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through a number of new initiatives, such as the Crowdfunding Initiative Basel launched in 0’14 with Kickstarter, which is designed to present jury-selected art projects to potential benefactors, which include Art Basel’s vibrant audience and the Kickstarter community. The initiative has catalyzed much needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects worldwide and so far has helped pledge over $2 million to creative projects around the world.


The Holy Trinity

Art Basel wasn’t the only one who brought their A-game to this year’s collaborative table; The Holy Trinity of Miami’s contemporary art scene also made their presence known.

Courtesy: ICA Miami

The ICA Miami inaugurated its new building in the heart of the Miami Design District and held a VIP opening reception party worth writing home to mom about. Their Main event, ‘The Everywhere Studio’, explored the evolution of the artist’s studio as a psychic space and social icon from the post-war period to the present day.

Next in line, The Bass – Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum – held their long-anticipated re-opening reception, following a large-scale renovation,and presented several major solo exhibitions timed with the fair, featuring artists Pascale Marthine Tayou (b. 1967), Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964) and Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976).

Courtesy: © Art Basel, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2017, The Bass


Courtesy: Perez Art Museum Miami


Completing the Trinity, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) opened the second chapter of its comprehensive, three-part survey on contemporary Cuban art titled ‘On the Horizon: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Jorge M. Pérez Collection’, as well as the first major retrospective of the work of Dara Friedman (b. 1968).

Miami’s renowned private collections – including the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and the Rubell Family Collection – also hosted special exhibitions timed and curated to the fair, alongside our Miami old Schoolers Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Lowe Art Museum, National YoungArts Foundation, NSU Art Museum, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and the Wolfsonian-FIU.

Although Miami Art Week sadly drew its final breath for this year, the art world keeps a close eye on the world’s contemporary players as we approach Frieze Art Week in New York City.