Art Basel Miami Beach and Cie 2019


shutterstock_533364697(1) Art Basel Miami Beach, Convention Center

Art Basel has managed to stretch the Contemporary Art Fair concept to its limits, turning its Floridan incarnation into a veritable marathon! The central event of the 18th edition in Miami will host no less than 269 major international galleries from 32 countries, showing work by more than 4,000 artists. For 72 hours the coastal city will be offering museum exhibitions, themed ‘off’ fairs, numerous gallery shows and a series of luxury evenings. The Convention Center, entirely occupied by Art Basel, was modernized and expanded in 2018 at a cost of $700 million. Indeed, Art Basel Miami, founded in 2002 as the first « spin off » of the European fair, has profoundly changed the city of Miami, with lots of new galleries, new museums and a myriad of luxury hotels and businesses. Property developers were the first to promote Miami onto the global art circuit map, almost ex nihilo. Already back in the 1980s, the promoter and collector, Craig Robins, helped to upgrade the Art Deco district, before creating the famous Design District, then launching Design Miami in 2005, hosted in a marquee opposite the Convention Center.

shutterstock_559937842         Art Basel Miami Beach. Ugo Rondinone, Miami Mountain, Collins Park, South Beach

In many respects Miami and its surrounding area crystallises a number of major globalization issues. Of the agglomeration’s 2.5 million inhabitants, half were born outside the United States. Art Basel Miami has become the primary fair for collectors from both Americas (North and South) and beyond… attracting a ‘quality’ and knowledgeable clientele who have made the Floridan event their top priority even if it means missing other appointments in North America. The galleries, some of which are present at the three Art Basel shows in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong, hope to seduce buyers from North and South America, with over half of the exhibitors having outlets on both continents. As a result, the event allows a unique overview of what the Americas can offer, with a distinct focus on Latin American art. The Agustina Ferreyra Gallery (Mexico City) and the Parker Gallery (Los Angeles) are among the 20 new galleries to be showing this year.

This year, the fair’s different sections include “Meridians”, a new space dedicated to some thirty monumental sculptures, video installations and performances, curated by Magalí Arriola, director of the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico. Among the works on show, the Petzel Gallery will be presenting a work by Allan MCCOLLUM (1944) entitled If Love had wings: A Perpetual Canon (1972), a wall-hung ‘pavement’ tapestry measuring over eight meters long and composed of lacquered canvas squares. McCollum’s auction prices have recently returned to their highest level. His Collection of Thirty Plaster Surrogates fetched over $156,000 at Christie’s in London last March.

AM_16_031_HiResAllan McCollum, If Love Had Wings: A Perpetual Canon, 1972 © Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

“Positions” is the reference section for galleries wishing to present solo shows or joint projects. The Danish gallery Christian Andersen will immerse visitors in scenarios created by Astrid SVANGREN (1972). The Swedish artist literally turns the notion of an ‘artwork’ inside-out, isolating constituent elements (paints, canvases, brushes, tools, etc.) and arranging them in what might be called a ‘poetic environment’.

There will also be a “Nova” section for ‘recently created’ (i.e. fresh-out-of-the-workshop artworks) by the likes of Cinga Samson, Maia Cruz Palileo and Dike Blair. Throughout the three-day marathon, Art Basel will also host artist talks and various lectures focusing on topics such as global fraud issues and the art world’s responsibilities in the fight against climate change denial.


2. Entrance

Celebrating its 19th edition, SCOPE Miami Beach is returning to its dedicated pavilion on Ocean Drive beach at 8th Street. Aiming at highlighting the work of young galleries and emerging artists to art professionals and non-professionals, the event will host 134 exhibitors in an ambitious program that includes awards, scholarships and especially OASIS, an experimental multi-disciplinary project showcasing large format installations, musical performances, wellness initiatives and conferences. The fair will also present FOCUS | ART CHINA, the first exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art in Miami, promoting works of museum quality by recognized or younger artists in all disciplines.

Ethan Cohen Gallery, Lan Zhenghui, Ink on Paper, 2019   FOCUS | ART CHINA : Courtesy of Ethan Cohen Gallery, LAN Zhenghui (1959), Ink on Paper, 2019