One of the art world's biggest commercial roundups, the Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) fair, has its 12th edition this week (Dec. 5-8). Last year, the fair brought 50,000 attendees. This year, ABMB comes on the heels of record-setting auctions in New York.
"The momentum from those sales is going to carry over," Miami Beach-based art consultant Lisa Austin told A.i.A. by phone. "You can sense that there's a huge wave of energy that will ride into the fair. People are bringing really high-quality material."
Marc Payot, a partner in gallery Hauser & Wirth, told A.i.A. in a phone interview, "Art Basel Miami Beach has really established itself as the number one fair in America. Frieze New York is great but it's much younger and less established. The level is higher in Miami."
With 258 exhibitors from 31 countries, the fair is divided into a number of sections. The galleries section includes 195 exhibitors, including a crop of first-timers like Elizabeth Dee (New York) and Corbett vs. Dempsey (Chicago). Nova has 34 younger galleries, among them hip New York gallery 47 Canal. In Positions, 16 galleries, including New York's Bureau and Real Fine Arts, each present the work of a single artist. In Edition, exhibitors such as Singapore's Tyler Print Institute show prints and limited-edition works. Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of New York's Public Art Fund, is overseeing the Public sector, which displays works outdoors in Collins Park. That show includes artists such as Sam Falls, Charlotte Posenenske and Oscar Tuazon.
Several satellite fairs, the oldest among them NADA Miami Beach but also including Pulse and Untitled, will complement the main show, and area museums and private collections are timing openings to the fair.
"The big event here is the opening of the Pérez Art Museum Miami," Austin said. The museum is re-opening with a new name (it was formerly the Miami Art Museum) and a Herzog and de Meuron-designed building. The museum was renamed in honor of collector and museum benefactor Jorge M. Pérez, who made a $40-million gift of cash and art to the museum.
The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami is devoting its attention to a YBA with the show "Tracey Emin: Angel without You" (Dec. 4, 2013-Mar. 9, 2014). It's the first U.S. solo exhibition for Emin, and the first show to focus on her works in neon.
Exhibition previews and glitzy parties keep many visitors busy from Tuesday through Friday, but for some, after that is when the more productive work starts. New York art advisor Thea Westreich told A.i.A., "Most usually, it's not necessarily what is on the walls, which we know well in advance, but the conversations with dealers after everyone has left on Friday, when galleries have quieted down a bit, that are the real gold."