As if the art scene in south Florida isn’t already hot enough, Art Basel Miami Beach is back again this year. This expansive and highly acclaimed event features a range of modern and contemporary artwork, from film to drawings to installations, by more than 4,000 artists. Not only that, it injects a creative spirit throughout the city as Miami Art Week simultaneously unfolds with fairs, special exhibits, lavish parties and more.
The 2016 Art Basel Miami Beach show will be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center and is open to the public from Thursday, December 1, through Sunday, December 4. Various ticket options allow you to select either a single day admission, a pass valid for all four days or a combination Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami ticket. Due to the sheer size of the event, you’ll want to make a game plan about how to spend your time so you can see and do as much as possible.
Nearby Art Fairs
Art Basel Miami Beach coincides with Miami Art Week, which means that art fairs galore will be in full swing during the first week of December. Here’s a roundup of some must-visit events.
Art Miami When: November 29 – December 4 What to expect: Now in its 27th year, Art Miami is the area’s longest-running contemporary art fair. Here you’ll find 20th- and 21st-century works from 125 international art galleries.
CONTEXT Art Miami When: November 29 – December 4 What to expect: This is the sister fair to Art Miami and held just one block north. CONTEXT showcases the works of emerging and mid-career artists. Special exhibitions will feature sculptures, new technologies and listening stations.
Design Miami When: November 30 – December 4 What to expect: This high-end design fair features exhibitions of lighting, furniture and objets d’art from international design galleries. The fair’s Design Talks program features a panel discussion about important topics in today’s design world.
INK Miami Art Fair When: November 30 – December 4 What to expect: INK’s focus is unique among the art fairs. Now in its 11th year, this event features modern and contemporary prints and works on paper.
NADA Miami Beach (New Art Dealers Alliance) When: December 1-4 What to expect: Run by a non-profit, this event features emerging contemporary art from around the globe. Supporting its focus on new and underexposed art, NADA will welcome 43 first-time exhibitors to this year’s 14th anniversary show.
SCOPE Miami Beach When: November 29 – December 4 What to expect: SCOPE showcases bold, emerging contemporary art from an international community of 125 artists from 22 countries. Now in its 16th year, it’s one of Miami’s not-to-be-missed art shows.
Some of the other outstanding art fairs this time of year include Untitled, Miami Project, PULSE Miami Beach, Pinta Miami, X Contemporary, Fridge Art Fair, Spectrum Miami, Red Dot Miami, Miami River Art Fair, Superfine!, and Aqua Art Miami.
What to Know About the Show
Before you arrive, try to get a decent sense of what you’ll want to see. Art Basel Miami Beach’s curators have broken the show up into sectors: galleries, nova, positions, edition, kabinett, survey, public, film and magazines. By prioritizing what is on display, you can make a plan to frontload your visit with all the exhibits and artwork that top your list so you don’t miss a thing.
The next decision you’ll want to make is whether to pay for a guided tour. Doing so will give you the opportunity to learn about the pieces and the artists as well as participate in an educational discussion with an experienced professional. It’ll provide context and enhance your experience. You can choose from a variety of one-hour tours that have been pre-arranged by the show’s organizers and cost between $30-50 per person.
If you don’t opt for a guided tour but still want an educational component, you can attend the daily Art Basel Conversations, from 10-11:30 a.m., and Salon events, from 1-6:30 p.m. Panelists in the Conversations will include those who are deeply entrenched in the art world, such as artists, critics and curators. They’ll discuss how they participate in the art world and what that experience is like from their particular perspective. The Salon events are brief and informal presentations, ranging from panels and lectures to performances. Keep an eye on the event calendar for a more detailed program in the weeks to come.
The show is family friendly, too. Admission is free for children ages 12 and younger, as long as a paying adult accompanies them. Art Kids, hosted by the Miami Children’s Museum, will be providing a free playroom for children ages 4-12. While there, they’ll be able to flex their artistic side while their parents explore the show. The popular opportunity fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve spots for your kids beforehand.
For those who don’t live in south Florida, there are a couple key things to keep in mind while visiting Art Basel Miami Beach. Namely, traffic and parking. The show attracts more than 75,000 people each year, so you can expect heavy traffic around the Miami Beach Convention Center and that nearby parking lots will fill up fast.
If you don’t plan to do much driving during your trip and can find a hotel close to the show, you can opt to walk or take a taxi or Uber around town. There are also shuttle bus services that will run from the convention center area to nearby art fairs as well as to museums and collections in Miami.
While you’re there, explore other popular parts of Miami outside of show hours. If you want to stick with an art-centric vacation, you can admire the art deco hotels on Ocean Drive or check out the Wynwood Art District. The latter is filled with colorful and expressive murals and street art, as well as boutique shops and top-notch restaurants. Had enough art-themed activities for the day? There is always great shopping and people-watching along Collins Avenue and at Lincoln Road Mall. And, of course, the vibrant nightlife of South Beach is not to be missed.