by Susan Johnson
This past December I enjoyed the ultimate art fair experience. Not only was this my first visit to Art Basel Miami Beach, but also my first ever visit to Florida. Blessed with gorgeous sunny 80-degree weather, South Beach and Miami Beach were converted into an endless parade of art fairs with gorgeous beach draped alongside. And all of this is on top of the luscious Art Deco architecture. All the glorious sunniness in connection with the contemporary art world was like a culture shock!
Shuttles to other fairs were well planned and accessible, and free. Walking to and from the main event, Art Basel Miami Beach, I could slip into smaller, satellite fairs showcasing prints and works on paper, and artists hosting their own booths. I especially liked the Miami Art Basel Art/ Public Outdoor sculpture exhibition, at the Bass Museum. The museum also had a great exhibit inside, “The Endless Renaissance – Six Solo Artist Projects”. The show reminded me of the “Arte Torna Arte” exhibit at the Accademia in Florence last summer. In fact, the sculptures of Hans-Peter Feldmann were in both exhibits. Life size copies of Michelangelo’s David painted with flat garish colors are as distinctive in Miami Beach as in Florence!
The shuttle to the Art Miami and Context Fair gave us a tour of the Wynwood Walls – street art by top Graffiti artists today. My hostel was a short walk from the convention center so I was up and out and immersed in the art exhibits from dawn to dusk. Originally an old art deco hotel and full of artists and journalists, the environment was laidback and professional. I did get to the beach on my last day. Next year I’ll definitely get more of that in, and will have a better idea of how to get around to all the satellite fairs. Looking forward to it!