With a week full of swanky parties and fashion-obsessed style stalkers, the primary purpose of Art Basel Miami Beach can get lost in the mania. Officially taking place from December 5th through the 8th in the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel Miami Beach is the premier art show in the US. This year’s show featured art pieces from 258 of the leading international galleries, combining well-established artists with lesser known newbies.
Anyone who attended Basel can attest to the sheer magnitude of the event. The convention center was transformed into a maze, with each wall containing a unique painting, sculpture or installation. (For a casual art fan, it might have been too much.) There were some really beautiful, inspiring paintings, but then there were more conceptual installations that still have us asking, “what is this?” Distraction’s Photo Editor, Rori Kotch, describes her day at Art Basel:
“I roll up to the Miami Beach Convention Center at around 11:35 a.m. on Sunday morning. I get the last parking spot in the entire lot. Score. This weekend is my personal favorite weekend of the year. Today is my day: Art Basel. I wait for this all year; it’s even better than my birthday (sorry mom). With over 300 art galleries in one building, a budding artist like me can go insane, which is considered to be totally normal. I walk to the long line with my two best friends in tow to purchase my ticket. Already, I hear a myriad of languages – French, Spanish and German – as I wait in the already ridiculously long ticket line. Finally, it’s my turn. I purchase my one student ticket and already my heart is beating like crazy. I have been coming to Art Basel since it debuted in Miami in 2002, and every year it gets even better. Art Basel was founded in 1970 when three art gallerisits Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner, and Balz Hilt had a vision for their city. It all started with those three with the help of 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries. It became a success from the start. Art Basel now has 3 locations total, Basel, Miami, and Hong Kong (which debuted in 2013). Art Basel all started in Basel (appropriately), which is located at the border between Switzerland, France, and Germany, a very unique location if I might say so myself. Anyways, back to the experience that is Art Basel 2013, Miami edition. So I walk into the convention center and into the entrance for the exhibition. It smells like art collectors and their expensive clothing. Overall, I got to see some of my favorite pieces by some of the best artists in the world, and also got to discover new artists. Art Basel was a total success.
If you missed Art Basel this year, do not worry for it will return next December. You can join the thousands of art fans who travel to the Magic City from all over the world annually for this event.
While Art Basel is the main attraction, it also brings along many other art exhibitions, one of the many being SCOPE. SCOPE has had over 50 art shows that span over a decade across the world. The locations include Miami, Basel in Switzerland, New York, London and the Hamptons. SCOPE aims to present the most cutting-edge pioneering, work in the art world, and this year they did just that. It was located on the sands of Miami Beach – arguably one of the most visible locations in Miami – in a 70,000 square foot white pavilion along with an outdoor beach lounge with amazing views of the ocean. It was a lot to take in – in a good way. Plywood planks made up the entire floor and aluminum doors opened into one of the most amazing art festivals this city has ever seen. There were sculptures, mixed media pieces, and even performance art. One of the most memorable pieces came from a gallery in San Francisco called Rêverie Arts comprised of a globe-shaped piece, with small vials of water representing zodiacs encompassed by a small white vial representing the moon. It represented one’s spiritual journey through life, overall a very spiritually moving piece, just like the rest of SCOPE.
Art Miami, located in Midtown Miami, is a premier anchor fair as a part of Miami’s Art Week. Art Miami has showcased some of the best in modern and contemporary art from 125 art galleries around the world. As the name suggests, it began in Miami, FL and it is now Miami’s longest-running contemporary art fair. This year, Art Miami had three main pavilions. Between Art Miami and its sister fair CONTEXT, Miami hosted 195 galleries from 20 countries. That totals 1,875 artists from 60 countries around the world. Art Miami hosted some of the most cutting-edge modern artists and their amazing artwork. This year, the outdoor courtyard featured more than 30 pieces from various artists and different disciplines of art. Another special part of Art Miami and CONTEXT is that they partnered with Maserati North America. The luxury automobile brand hosted a Maserati VIP Lounge in the Art Miami pavilion, which exuded Italian elegance and style. VIP members of Art Miami were provided access to the Maserati VIP lounge to enjoy casual Italian cuisine, socialize, reflect, and refresh while viewing the inspiring art.
As always, Wynwood came through with some fantastic street art. While some of the older graffiti stayed behind, newer pieces were commissioned for Miami Art Week. Artists such as Shepard Fairey, Futura and Martha Cooper covered the public space in their signature styles. Events were held in the neighborhood all week; while spectators sipped on craft beers and freshly-made tacos, artists created their newest pieces. Even the now iconic Wynwood Walls got a makeover. The best part: you can head over to Wynwood any time after Art Week and still see the new street art – with much fewer people.
One of the coolest, and definitely most unique, exhibitions was located at the top of the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage titled Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile. On display were cars from the fanciest Rolls Royce to an old, rusty pick-up, each with an artistic spin. Some notable artists involved included Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring and Damien Hirst.
And what would an event in Miami be without a few good parties. Rooftops and beachside parties filled up the schedules of Miami’s most social crowds. Any bar in Wynwood had a line of hopefuls trying to get in. Wynood hosted a pop-up Biergarten just for the weekend, which served local beer, candied bacon and fresh-made tacos. Second Saturdays were moved to the first Saturday of the month just for Basel. The Annex was a great pop-up restaurant in Midtown right by Art Miami; the food was fresh and all the furniture was for sale. PAMM finally opened its doors this weekend, opening its doors first to an elite guest list. And, of course, the Beach had plenty of activities such as karaoke at the Rec Room, Mark Ronson at Mansion and The FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade 2013. Although many events were exclusively for celebrities and the artistic elite, other events simply required an RSVP in advance – be sure to check some out next year.
words_rori kotch and nicole vila. photos_rori kotch, nicole vila and raquel zaldivar