There’s 2 things I look forward to every December, Christmas and Art Basel. It’s the best of both worlds, getting a snowy Canadian Christmas, but also getting to jet off to South Beach, Miami for some sun, and one of the world’s most exciting art fairs. For those of you who have heard about Art Basel before but not quite sure what it is, Art Basel is an international art fair with three shows staged annually in Basel, Miami Beach, Hong Kong and each showcases modern and contemporary artwork by established and newly emerging artists. Art Basel Miami Beach has grown to become one of the most popular of the fairs for art lovers, locals, visitors, and party-goers alike. Even if you’re not an art aficionado, you can enjoy every minute of the fair as it takes over and spans across South Beach, Brickell, Downtown Miami, Wynwood, and my favorite, the brand new Design District. I really like that the fair is approachable and there is something there for everyone.
Typically I usually lean towards art installations that are interactive and or an experience. I find myself able to connect the most to piece and it leaves an impression on me that I walk away with. I can’t even begin to describe the magnitude of the fair and the outstanding works of art it showcases.
The year Art Basel hits Miami Beach officially from December 7-10th, however the events, installations, additional fairs and celebrations kick off all week long leading up.
Miami has always been a city close to my heart, I think that’s why I love Art Basel that much more. This year marks my 4th consecutive year attending, so I’d say that makes me a bit of an expert, right?
I’ve put together my top picks of what you need to do, see, eat, and stay.
- Art Basel: The main attraction and premiere art fair during Miami Art Week, catch 269 of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries display premier paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, prints, photography, film, video, and digital art by over 4,000 artists at the Miami Beach Convention Centre.
- Design Miami/: This is hands down one of my favorite fairs. Taking place from December 6th-10th, Design Miami/ is the global forum for design. Each fair brings together the most influential collectors, gallerists, designers, curators and critics from around the world in celebration of design culture and commerce. This year the fair will showcase 34 galleries, representing 14 countries, and include 8 founding galleries and 4 first-time galleries. Design for a better world is a narrative that runs across each of the galleries and through time periods. Visitors can expect the below highlights from galleries, both new and veteran to the fair: World Debuts and Solo Exhibitions, Utopian Aspirations: Design for a Better World, Robotic Fabrication, Americana and Woodworking Traditions, Reflecting on Cultures, Traditions, and Heritage, Monumental Scale, finally Design Miami/ Commissions Furniture Designed by Christ & Gantenbein for Mwabwindo School, the Recipient of the 2017 Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award. Furniture is designed to be produced in southern Zambia and assembled by the school community.
Also taking place at Design Miami/, Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen welcomed guests into their living room during Design Miami/ 2017 with A Wild Thing. Recorded narratives from the designers’ lives were paired with selected items within the space, creating a highly immersive installation and illustrating the invisible connection between hosts and guests- a truly Airbnb experience. Take a peek at the video below...
- SCOPE: SCOPE is celebrated as the premier showcase for international emerging contemporary art and multi-disciplinary creative programming. Renowned for its uncanny ability to forecast new visual trends that are embraced globally. This year taking place from x-x
- PULSE: One of the most anticipated events during Miami Art Week, PULSE Contemporary Art Fair is a well-respected source for the discovery of emerging to mid-career artists offering a comprehensive overview of the contemporary art market today.
- NO COMMISION: BACARDÍ, Swizz Beatz and The Dean Collection present NO COMMISSION: Miami 2017, a three-day, art and music experience. NO COMMISSION is a roving experiential platform that forges a direct link between art and art patronage. All artists are given their exhibition space for free and 100% of the sale of each artwork goes directly to the artists. NO COMMISSION makes its triumphant return to Miami – BACARDÍ’s backyard. This showcase is themed around the idea of “Island Might” which focuses on the strength and vitality of the Caribbean while examining family and the intersection of land and sea, ritual, revolution and color – all as elemental forces that illuminate the roadmap for a bright future of endless possibility. Check out this really cool and unique exhibition which is open to public on Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9 from 12pm-5pm, located at Soho Studios, 2136 NW 1ST Ave in Wynwood.
- Eden by Perrier-Jouët: For their latest partnership with Design Miami/, Maison Perrier-Jouët takes over Miami! Making your way into the city, from November 30th, travelers at Miami International Airport will be able to discover Eden by Perrier-Jouët: an all- encompassing digital experience that reinterprets the Maison's long-standing links with nature and Art Nouveau. Created by Chicago-based artists Luftwerk, this ephemeral piece will introduce air passengers to themes that will be explored in greater detail at Design Miami 2017 and the associated Eden by Perrier-Jouët event. The eye-catching pop-up is the latest manifestation of the Maison Perrier-Jouët's enduring association with the world of art and design.
- Art Miami: As the city’s original and longest running contemporary and modern art fair, Art Miami is globally recognized as a primary destination for the acquisition of significant work from the 20th and 21st centuries in collaboration with a selection of the world’s most respected galleries. During its 28th edition, Art Miami will present an array of iconic and exemplary works dynamic projects and special installations from more than 140 exhibitors to more than 85,000 visitors at its new waterfront location One Herald Plaza.
- CONTEXT Art Miami: CONTEXT Art Miami, the sister fair to Art Miami, is dedicated to the development and reinforcement of emerging and mid-career artists, launched in 2012. CONTEXT’s open atmosphere creates a meaningful dialogue between artists, galleries and collectors while providing the ultimate platform for established and emerging galleries to present cutting-edge and emerging talent. The 100 international galleries vetted by the CONTEXT Selection Committee will exhibit highlights from their gallery programs, solo artist exhibitions and/or curated projects.
- Hendrick’s Gin Grand Garnisher at The Anderson: The Hendrick's Gin Grand Garnisher, is a 38-foot cocktail garnishing device powered by hybrid diesel motor, is visiting the hottest spots with a demo of the cucumber-cutting truck and an evening filled with cocktails.
- SURFACE Magazine's annual exclusive Art Basel events: In conjunction with the magazine's annual Art issue. Surface hosts a variety of events, all of which have A-list artists and influencers in attendance.This year Surface Media and Eleven Madison Park are hosting an Art Basel experience at a private media beach residence over the course of art week for an experience with Chef Daniel Humm. The residence is Barry Brodsky’s and Wayne Chaplin’s (owner of Southern Wine & Spirits) unbelievable beach house designed by Marcio Kogan and with landscapes by Raymond Jungles.
- Vegas: Alter Your Reality | Experiential Gallery Exhibit: High tech meets stylized art at Zadok Gallery during this upcoming Miami Art Week with Vegas: Alter Your Reality. Open to the public December 7 – 9 from 1– 9PM, Sin City arrives in Wynwood with an experiential art gallery. LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) partnered up with five internationally-renowned artists to share their individual interpretations of Las Vegas in a 360° virtual reality art form after their visits to the adult playground. Using Samsung Gear VR, artists participating include Brazilian artist Adhemas Batista, English street artist Insa, French artist Fafi, Canadian visual artist Signal Noise and digital artist Beeple.
- 8th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Finale party: Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series is an annual arts competition to uncover emerging artists across North America and provide them with a national platform to showcase their work. This year, the series had a record breaking number of submissions before the 16 finalists were selected to debut their work at a special exhibit at SCOPE Miami Beach before the finale. The annual event was held at Miami’s infamous Villa Casa Casuarina – formerly known as the Versace Mansion – where Issa Rae hosted an illustrious mix of celebrities, musicians, socialites, designers and industry innovators to celebrate the extraordinary work of the program’s 16 finalists. VIP guests including Olivia Culpo, Eva Longoria, Mark Ronson and Issa Rae’s Insecure costars Broderick Hunter and Sarunas Jackson; models RJ King and Beau Dunn; artists Gregory Siff and Allie & Lexi Kaplan; designer Gigi Burris; and influencer Olivia Lopez who mingled and sipped artfully crafted Bombay Sapphire cocktails while dancing to music spun by designer and special guest DJ Heron Preston. As the night winded down, Issa took the stage to announce Vancouver’s Vanessa Lam as the Grand Finale Winner of the 8th Annual Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition (a first-time Canadian winner for the program). In addition to Lam, Issa Rae announced theSecond Place Winner Ariel Vargassal (Los Angeles) and People’s Choice Winner Charity White (Chicago). Following her win, Lam will collaborate with the renowned global arts platform, Artsy, on a groundbreaking public arts installation set to debut in New York City next spring.
- Soho Beach House: If there is one place you want to spend your days on the beach, and end of your night, it's here! Soho House is my oasis and second home in Miami. The pop-up tent on the beach plays host to the most unforgettable parties. Kick off your shoes at the end of the night and have a midnight dance party! The house also just underwent a design renovation, unveiled just in time for Art Basel. The main pool, lobby, Cecconi’s and our brand new Beachbar (formerly Mandolin) have all undergone an Art Deco-inspired facelift.
- Quinto La Huella: I had the opportunity to be introduced to this Brickell hotspot last year and it did not disappoint. Their fire-grilled octopus was definitely a must-order.
- Mandolin: The best Greek and Mediterranean food, located in Miami’s Design District. Make sure to grab a spot on the outdoor string lit terrace for an unforgettable meal!
- Matador Room: Located within the EDITION Hotel, Matador Room is a staple spot for me, delicious tapas-style Spanish bites and even more delicious cocktails. MUST ORDER: The ELYX Pineapple!
- Milos: If you want to eat the best of the Mediterranean sea, look no further. Milos is a chic, contemporary seafood hotspot, located in the South of Fifth neighbourhood of South Beach.
- Byblos: The Miami outpost of one of Toronto’s raved about restaurants for mezes and exotic cuisine by INK Entertainment. Located at the Royal Palm Hotel, this spot is always on my go-to list.
- 1 Hotel South Beach: Designed for comfort, using reclaimed materials, this hotel is one-of-a-kind and boasts one of the best rooftop pools, hands down! Literally, it's amazing and overlooks the crystal blue ocean! As always they are hosting some of the best parties including artist, Daniel Mazzone's latest collection unveiling on Wednesday, Dec 6th!
- Faena Hotel: The artwork in this hotel is an exhibit of it’s own, from their mural adorned lobby to the Damien Hirst gold woolly-mammoth in their outdoor space. This magical hotel hosts an abundance of fun parties in their beachfront dome. I have my eyes set to stay here soon!
- Delano Hotel: The Delano is one of South Beach’s most iconic hotels and it’s gorgeous palm-tree lined pool speaks for itself! Stop by for a poolside drink if you’re able to make it past the velvet rope.
- EAST, Miami: Feel right at EAST in this zen-like modern hotel! I stayed here last Art Basel and it felt like home. The pool area and rooftop bar are both incredible sights! Not to mention, this hotel hosted some of the best parties of Basel, ready for round 2!
- The Miami Beach EDITION Hotel: The EDITION is the place to be, from dining at Matador Room, to bowling in the basement, or skating on the ice rink. This hotel packs it all, and more. They even have a club in the basement, literally called Basement. The hotel hosts a slew of exclusive and public events and hosts world-class DJ's and artists. Public School & Saks Fifth Avenue are hosting a bash to celebrate the brand's latest SS18 collection! Stop by and you never know who you'll bump into.
- Nautilus South Beach: As an official Art Basel hotel partner, Nautilus South Beach is back with art, culture, music, and celebrity lineup of A list events. I spent so much time in the beach-side pop-up tent last year! This hotel definitely hosts some of the best parties, including Gran Centenario x Kelsey Montague. Known for her viral angel wings mural pieces, artist Kelsey Montague partners up with Gran Centenario Tequila to showcase a white and gold angel wings mural, which will be auctioned off for proceeds to benefit Mexican Relief charities. Encouraging guests to join the movement, Nautilus South Beach will display her wings at the Nautilus Lobby, and another set at the Art Basel tent, for guests to take photos and post on social media during Art Basel. For every picture posted to the hashtag, Gran Centenario will donate $10 to charity to benefit families and victims of the earthquake in Mexico City. The hotel also offers an 1,890 square foot salt water pool and an expansive backyard offering nests for ultimate relaxation and poolside dining. Photos opps at every corner!
What are you most excited about at Art Basel this year?
- Rob [@RobLosch]