Art Basel, the most anticipated of Miami Art Week 2022, was inaugurated with a special edition for its 20th anniversary

“Chair,” by María José Arjona, features a real woman as part of the work seen at the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. (Ronen Suarc)

In a simple ceremony, Art Basel Miami Beach was officially inaugurated in a very special edition, which celebrates its 20 years on the American side of the Atlantic. It is also a very special event for Marc Spieglerwho made this fair what it is today, and who leaves his place as executive director to Noah Horowitz. The outgoing CEO recalled how unlikely the venture seemed when it was a project. “In 2002 I came here as a journalist, the first time, and seen from a distance, I was very skeptical about what I wrote about Miami and the beaches,” he recalled.

The “cultural ecosystem,” as he described it, was far from optimal. He was not the only one who perceived it that way, he added: he even had a hard time convincing the local authorities. “Today it’s somewhat ironic, given the prices we have,” said the man who will now be global director of the brand with evident pride. “Because from the moment it opened, this show established itself as the most important fair in the most important art market in the world. And Art Basel Miami Beach has held that position, firmly, for 20 years.”

He also recalled the difficulties: the original inauguration, which was to be in 2001, had to be postponed due to the terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers and the Pentagon; the attempts at competition that arose in New York and Los Angeles, the 2008 recession, the hurricanes, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, “today the spectacle does not happen only in the Miami Beach Convention Center”, alluded to the art week. “There are fairs all over the city that happen throughout the week, and they are important.”

People at the Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 VIP tour at the opening
Marc Spiegler spoke of the impact of Art Basel throughout the city and the creation of Miami Art Week. (Martin Films)

With an obvious farewell tone, Spiegler closed on a note of gratitude. “People often talk about everything that Art Basel did for the city. But the city did a lot for us.” He shared the credit for the success of the fair with the authorities, to whom he recognized “their constant support”, and with the cultural actors of the community, “always committed”.

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Also at the opening were the mayor of Miami Beach, Dan Gelberg; the incoming CEO to replace Spiegler, Noah Horowitz; Florian FaberCEO of MCH Groupthe company that owns the fairs; Jason Chandlertitle of UBS Wealth Management USAthe great sponsor of this event, and Magali Arriolathe curator of the sector Meridiansof large works, who would then offer an in-person tour of the section.

The entrance was highlighted by extremely tight security: lines for checking purses and bags, even for VIP guests, and then a body scan with a metal detector. Upon entering, the act took place with sobriety and without the exaggerated congratulations that mark these events. The air was rather reflective due to the importance of having been able to fully resume the event in person after two years.

Art Basel - Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach opened a very special edition: it turns 20 and changes executive director. (Martin Films)

Art Basel Miami Beach put south of the Florida in the international art circuit since its inception in 2002 and today it is the largest gathering of gallery owners, collectors, artists and enthusiasts on the American continent. Its success has led to the creation of new museums and galleries, and has had an impact on the local economy that is estimated at USD 400-500 million annually, according to data from Art Basel.

What brings Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

For two days, special guests —collectors, celebrities, artists, gallery owners— will have an exclusive preview of the great meeting of global art that is held every year next to the beach of La Florida, with special features in 2022: the fair turns 20. From December 1 to 3, the public will be able to walk through those same halls and enjoy the largest event in the history of the fair born in Basel. In addition, after two years affected, like all public events, by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fair returns with a festive spirit and a record number of galleries.

And what exactly is that there to see?

More than 280 galleries—half of which come from the Americas—have brought the best of its catalogue. To give it a thematic order, Art Basel is divided into sectors: Galleries, Meridians, Positions, Not going, Survey Y Edition.

People at the Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 VIP tour at the opening
Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 was inaugurated after a simple ceremony. (Martin Films)

The main one is Galleries: 212 art dealers exhibit works in a huge variety of media. After the opening speeches, the VIP guests began to tour the fair here. From there will come the rumors about prices and buyers, records and disappointments.

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The Meridians, Positions, Nova sectors

The second important sector —so much so that it deserved a special tour for the press— is Meridianswhere 20 large-scale projects are on display, ranging from physical presentations to virtual works of art, curated by Magali Arriola, director of the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art of Mexico. She, who was chief curator of the fair between 2009 and 2011, since 2019 has been in charge of this space for works that challenge the exhibition halls.

positions focuses on young galleries organizing solo shows by emerging artists. It will feature 19 presentations, highlights of which include new paintings by Tonia Nneji at Rele Gallery; the abstract paintings of Leslie Martinez, a first-time entrant, bridging queer and border politics; and works of Ishi Glinski that honor indigenous peoples’ connection to the land through material exploration and reimagined production at Chris Sharp Gallery.

Art Basel - Miami Beach
The opening on the 29th, like the visits on that day and the 30th, are by invitation only. (Martin Films)

The sector Not going it is dedicated to galleries presenting new work by a handful of artists, and will feature 23 signatures. Highlights include a solo presentation of new photographs and sculptures by john edmonds, who continue their research on the human form and African art at Company Gallery; exhibition of the work of Pinaree Sanpitak of newcomer Yavuz Gallery, following the inclusion of his work in The Milk of Dreams by Cecilia Alemani at the 2022 Venice Biennale; drawings and sculptures by ukrainian artist Nikita Kadansome of which have been made in his current haven in kyiv, at Galerie Jérome Poggi.

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It will also arouse interest Tenuous Support by the Canadian artist Sharon Franklin, which at first glance looks like a cane. But its base is made of expired pills, a syringe, mixed botanicals, and more suspended in a gelatin mold. Franklin, a disability activist, has labeled her gelatin sculptures “biological shrines” to the medical treatment she has received in her lifetime.

What’s new in Survey, Kabinett and Edition

In the sector Survey Works created before 2000 are featured and includes 17 galleries. Highlights include a historic presentation of rare wood, marble and bronze sculptures and works on paper by the Cuban artist Augustin Cardenas at the Galerie Mitterrand; the second overseas solo exhibition of the Japanese artist’s work i-Q, featuring recently discovered photo layouts and photo collages at the Watanuki Ltd. gallery; and a debut art fair presentation of historical works in a variety of media from the 1970s to the 1990s by Milford Graves at Fridman Gallery in New York.

People at the Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 VIP tour at the opening
Art Basel Miami Beach placed South Florida at the center of the global art circuit. (Martin Films)

cabinet it offers galleries the opportunity to present installations and in the 20th anniversary edition of Art Basel it will display 29 participants. You can see new work of Alberta Whittle (who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale) made specifically for the fair and presented by The Modern Institute. The animated paintings and sculptures of Izumi Katopresented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, imagine dialogues between the physical and spiritual realms.

A rarity is the one presented by Casa Triângulo: seminal works of Ascânio MMM, sculptures and reliefs that have their roots in mathematics and provoke the visitor to participate in a complex game of logic. And Derek Eller Gallery organized a space where historical and new works coexist, on an intimate scale, of Dewey Crumpler. They had never been exposed to the public before.

The sector Edition It has 11 exhibitors in the field of engraving, prints and published works. Exhibitors include London’s Cristea Roberts Gallery, Crown Point Press of San Francisco, Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art of New York, Pace Prints of New York and Polígrafa Obra Gràfica of Barcelona.

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Chair, by María José Aejona, in which a woman sits in a hanging chair, presented at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022 on opening day
The general public will be able to tour Art Basel, the gem of Miami Art Week, from December 1 to 3. (Ronen Suarc)

It will also be possible to see the work of established artists of the 20th century: the French painter Francis PicabiaAmerican photographer Imogen CunninghamAfrican American figurative painter bob thompson and the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, the mother of American modernism. It is possible that painting is a trend in this edition: there is already talk of the exhibited works of Alice Neelone of the greatest figurative painters of the last century, and the Swiss sonja sekulalinked to the abstract expressionist movement.

Panel discussions are also a big part of the fair. In this anniversary edition, the scope conversations has convened 35 leading voices from the art world to discuss the global contemporary art world, its prospects and challenges.

Where: 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach

When: December 1 and 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and December 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; November 29 and 30 by invitation only

How much: one-day ticket, USD 70; First Access ticket, USD 90; combo ticket with Design Miami/, USD 98; with discount for students and seniors, USD 55; Premium card (includes access to the vernissage on November 30 and the three following days), USD 600; Premium+ card, USD 2,200

Art Basel Miami
The 20th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach marks a change of CEO: Marc Spiegler leaves his place to Noah Horowitz. (Martin Films)


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