Art Basel Miami Beach turns 20 and prepares an ornate edition: the most ambitious to date, with 282 participating galleries. “The fair has not only reinforced its pivotal position in the region, uniquely uniting the art scenes of North and South America, Europe and beyond, but it has also played a driving role in the profound cultural transformation of the city. ”, synthesized Marc Spieglerits global director.
The meeting of collectors, galleries and artistswithout equal in the American continent, will have its preview for guests on November 29 and 30 and will open to the public from December 1 to 3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The synergy between the territory and the fair has transformed Miami and its beaches so intensely that today Art Basel is the sun of a much larger system, a week of exhibitions and activities in numerous spaces, the Miami Art Week.
Nobody would have imagined it in 2001, when the opening of the fair had to be postponed for a year due to the national impact of the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11.
The announcement of the opening was published on a platform for specialists in plastic arts and VIP, a group obviously not too numerous. He said: “The art world’s new favorite winter gathering place will offer unique experiences and plenty of sunshine, too.”
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In addition, the fact that it happened in December raised many doubts among the organizers, the participants and the authorities: would it really have a call, so close to Christmas and the New Year? but the fair ArtMiami it was the dominant one then, and it happened in January. December was what it was.
And December worked. The perfect climate, away from the tropically excessive heat of summer. A transit node between Europe and the Americas. A strong base of local collectors determined to push the project forward.
Art Basel was an instant success.
From Basel to Miami Beach
The history of Art Basel began in 1970, when three Swiss gallery owners —the collector Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner and Balz Hilt— set out to compete with Art Cologne, the world’s first gallery fair, established three years earlier in Cologne, Germany. They brought together 90 galleries from 10 countries in baselthe cultural heart of Northwest Swiss.
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The first Art Basel was attended by an unexpected number of visitors: more than 16,000 people walked through its halls, attended live performances, took master classes and lost themselves in the splendid parties that multiplied in the city.
The intention of Beyeler, Bruckner and Hilt was to “identify the leading artists of the moment” and make the event “the engine that sustains the role that galleries play in fostering the careers of artists.” Professionals and the curious mixed around the works June after June, in Messe Basela room that is a work in itself, created by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron.
At the turn of the century, the organizers thought of expanding outside of Europe. The multicultural atmosphere of Miami and the beaches interested them, but they also considered other cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando. But South Florida also had a rich local quarry, of Floridian, Cuban and Latin American artists. The potential was great, especially when the years of cocaine cowboys and crime were behind us.
In 2002 the fair brought together 160 galleries from 23 countries, which attracted more than 30,000 attendees. The hotels were full, the traffic was complicated. The rich and famous brightened up the festivities.
Since 2013 the Asian art market also had its local center, art basel hong kong. Rising stars and contemporary art masters also circulate through the partner cities in Art Basel Cities. And in October 2022 it was inaugurated Paris+ Art Basel.
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Norman Braman and other promoters
The collector’s name Norman Braman it is the first one that comes to mind when telling the story of Art Basel Miami Beach. “He and his wife, Irma, were among the few Americans who attended Art Basel in Switzerland in the 1980s,” he recounted. Robin Pogrebin in the official publication of the fair. “They had a house on the Côte d’Azur and the dealer Jeffrey Deitchthen an art advisor, took them to Art Basel.”
For almost two decades the Bramans traveled, every year without fail, to Basel: “We started a tradition of seeking out the best works at the fair and acquiring them for their collection,” Deitch told Pogrebin.
Braman, a car dealer and lover of visual arts, pitched his dream to the organizers. And he acted as an intermediary between the director of the fair, Lawrence Rudolf, and Miami Beach authorities.
Mera and Don Rubell—whose collection gave rise to the Rubell MuseumThey also intervened. “We organized a delegation of Miami Beach officials, including Mayor Neisen Kashdin and Commissioner Nancy Libman, who accompanied us to Switzerland to see firsthand the world level of Art Basel,” he said. Mera Rubell to the official publication of the fair. “The trip was a success.”
The director Rudolf received a tip from the collectors Lauren Taschen: “Miami is the gateway to South America. There you will be able to exhibit a lot of galleries that can’t show in Switzerland because they can’t afford the expense”. Some gallery owners, like Fredric Snitzerthey insisted: Art Miami —they argued— did not adequately cover contemporary Latin American art.
The contract was finally signed in 1999. Other collectors —among them martin margulies Y Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz— supported the development; it was also promoted by journalists such as critic Jane Wooldridge. Taschen took over event management, isabella mora he built a network of loyal collectors and encouraged a VIP team that now employs more than 30 people.
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Art Basel and Miami Art Week
In the 2022 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach you will see painting, sculpture, installation, photography and digital art from more than 4,000 creators. The appointment is at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139, (305) 674-1292. The hours open to the public are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on December 1 and 2, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday 3.
Other prominent fairs of Miami Art Week are:
DesignMiami/: November 30 to December 4
SCOPE International Art Show: November 30 to December 4
Fridge Art Fair: November 30 to December 3
ArtMiami: November 30 to December 4
Miami River Art Fair: November 30 to December 1
ANY Art Fair: November 30 to December 3
PINTA Miami: November 30 – December 4
Aqua Art Miami: December 1 to December 4
ink Miami Art Fair: November 30 to December 4
SATELLITE Art Fair: November 29 to December 4
UNTITLED Art: November 29 to December 3
Prizm Art Fair: November 29 to December 11
Spectrum Miami / Red Dot Miami: December 1 to December 4
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