What to Expect at Art Basel Miami Beach This Year

Art Basel closes out a year of electrifying, creative discovery in grand Miami style.

art-basel.jpg“Chopped Cheese” (2017, acrylic, watercolor, flash, crayon, colored pencil, oil pastel, pencil, handcolored photocopy, handcolored canvas on canvas), 96 inches by 84 inches, by Tschabalala Self, who showed at Art Basel in Miami Beach last year.

A tried-and-true adage states that success means not resting on one’s laurels. Art Basel took the sentiment to heart with the launch of Art Basel Cities in Buenos Aires last November. The new program proved a smashing hit, as more than 33,500 local and international visitors attended the Art Basel Cities Week, which included exhibitions, talks and workshops in the Argentine capital. Art Basel was thoughtful and thorough as it worked with the national government, the city and local artists to realize the first iteration of the Art Basel Cities Week in an authentic, substantive way. As a result, Art Basel was able to achieve a new level of hyperlocality and a deep exploration of Buenos Aires’ creative community to complement what it already does so well on a global scale at the iconic art fairs in Basel, Switzerland; Hong Kong; and Miami.

art-basel-2.jpg“Gender Troll” (2018, acrylic on canvas), 70.87 inches by 70.87 inches, by Mathieu Malouf, who showed at Art Basel in Switzerland this year.

When Art Basel in Miami Beach opens its 17th edition December 6, the nearly 80,000 expected attendees will feel an extra jolt of energy as the spirit of the Art Basel Cities program and the vitality of Buenos Aires embarks on South Florida. “We returned from Argentina and are extremely excited by the experience,” says Noah Horowitz, director Americas for Art Basel. “It has us all thinking outside the box about how our support changes people’s perception of what we do and how we can continue to encourage the art ecology by connecting artists and galleries to collectors and media.” Visitors will be supercharged by the fresh outlook as they savor outstanding works from more than 4,000 artists and 268 galleries encompassing an astonishing array of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, film, video and digital art. “There are a lot of great things happening this year, including some interesting crossovers. In the past, older galleries tended to represent older, more established artists, and younger galleries represented mainly young artists. We are now seeing a number of older galleries representing younger artists and vice versa,” Horowitz shares. “Also, many of the trends and themes we’ve seen building over the last several years have become more crystallized and are coming into sharp focus. These include colonialism and post-colonialism, gender politics and identity, immigration, race, feminism, religion, climate change and environment, and war.”

art-basel-3.jpg“Singers” (2017, oil on canvas), 32 inches by 45 inches, by Francesco Clemente, who showed at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2016.

In addition to the works themselves, there will be a number of surprise-and-delight moments, both at the fair and around town, including the addition of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, which opened at the end of last year, as well as another much-anticipated unveiling that will set a glamorous stage for both Art Basel and the Magic City. “The biggest news this year is the completion of Miami’s convention center,” Horowitz says. “The state-of-the-art facility was only partially open last year due to Hurricane Irma. It was fully completed this fall and will serve as an unparalleled gathering place for our audience, exhibitors, collectors and partners.” Art Basel in Miami Beach 2018, Private Day Dec. 5, by invitation only; open to the public Dec. 6-9, tickets from $50, Premium+ Card $450; artbasel.com/miami-beach