Art Miami and Art Basel sweep Miami

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This article was written by Olivia Lloyd, class of 2019.

The sixteenth annual edition of the contemporary art fair Art Basel took over Miami Beach once more. Basel attracted visitors from around the world in conjunction with the twenty-ninth edition of Art Miami happening at the same time. Basel, the main attraction of Art Miami, was held in the Miami Convention Center from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9. Since opening in Miami in 2002, Basel has attracted over 70,000 visitors each year during its annual four-day stay in Miami.

Approximately 250 galleries from around the world brought art pieces to Art Basel, showcasing art from thousands of artists. Liz Feld, one of the owners of New York-based gallery Hirschl and Adler, has brought pieces from her gallery to Basel for seven years. Feld curates a collection of pieces that complement one another and go with the contemporary themes of Basel.

“Often we bring what we have, but we sometimes try to save pieces specifically for something like Basel,” Feld said. “It’s a multi-faceted approach [to curating the pieces]. We want things that match and are appropriate for Basel.”

Highlights of Art Miami included an installation that was held at the Aqua Hotel. The small hotel cleared out its 45 rooms and converted each one into an individual space, where international galleries from New Delhi to Stockholm featured their artwork.

A repurposed bathroom in an Aqua hotel room serves as an art display. (Photo/Olivia Lloyd)

A Miami native, junior Daniel Block has gone to Basel the past few years. “[Art Basel] is one of the best places to see contemporary art in the country and allows me to get a worldwide view of current art,” Block said. “Each show had a distinctive atmosphere, and I like being able to see all different types of art. Especially with contemporary art, artists are constantly creating new styles, and Art Basel and other art week shows always have pieces unlike any others I have seen.”

PULSE and SCOPE, two more satellite art fairs part of Art Miami, drew attention for showcasing new-contemporary works, notably street-style art. These installations, in addition to Design Miami, offer a break from the crowds of Basel itself.

Another group of art-minded Heritage students visited Basel, including senior Isabel Chamberlain. “The art was so diverse; you had pieces by big names like Andy Warhol and Yayoi Kusama but then you also had works by upcoming artists,” Chamberlain said. “I came to Art Basel because I wanted to go somewhere like that, where everyone’s art is mixed up together because art isn’t about money or popularity or status, it’s just about art.”

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