THE INTERNATIONAL ART SCENE WILL SOON GATHER AT THE MIAMI BEACH CONVENTION CENTER, TRANSFORMING IT INTO A SPECTACULAR SHOWCASE FOR THE ACCLAIMED BASEL ART FAIR IN ITS 2014 EDITION.
By Amy Gibstein | Photography Courtesy of Art BasselThis year, for its 13th season, over 267 of the leading galleries from 31 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa will display the works of modern masters along with contemporary and emerging artists. Among the 75,000 people expected, visitors will have the opportunity to journey into the same experience of those who buy, sell, and collect art and build museums. The fair is a barometer of the current art market trends and styles, yet also highlights significant artists from the past. No matter if one is a collector, a novice or just a curious viewer, the galleries display a wide range of art addressing a dazzling array of cultural and social issues. Although one of the most ambitious exhibitions of its kind, with avant-garde and challenging works that force viewers to look beyond the superficial, all participants will feel the gift that art can bring to us.
There is no guide to steer through this massive enclave of art. But understanding the sectors that comprise the show can be of great help. The Gallery sector is the centerpiece of the convention center, comprising 192 of the leading galleries from around the world, displaying paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, and film. Several of these galleries have what are called Kabinett sites: separately curated exhibitions within their own spaces. The newest sector, which debuts this year, is Survey, dedicated to precise art-historical projects ranging from solo shows to thematic exhibition. This year, such distinguished artists as Michelle Stuart, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Ralston Crawford are included. The sixteen curated solo boothsof Positions cover a vast range of subjects and techniques within the realm of contemporary art. Viewers will have the chance to explore theories such as conceptual art to multimedia based work to performance art. For galleries just coming onto the scene, the Nova section will provide a platform for thirty young exhibitors to show works of emerging artists. Another highly successful section from the last few years is Editions. It houses twelve global leaders in the field of prints and limited editions. The print medium offers buyers the chance to purchase an original work by a blue-chip artist for a price many can afford. Names such as Damien Hirst, Cecily Brown, Richard Prince, John Baldessari, and Mel Bochner will be among some of the many well known artists these galleries have published. Lastly, are the public installations of large sculptural works placed within the cityscape and beaches of Miami.
Beyond the actual act of viewing art, the fair offers symposiums that allow for attendees to better their understanding of art and the world within which it exists. Conversations is a dynamic series of talks and panels, comprised of artists, curators and collectors that is scheduled throughout the week. Film, another premier program, is a body of films by and about artists that will be screened as part of the festival. Curated around the theme of “playfulness,” the program consists of seventy films and videos by an international roster of artists. The films will be shown in a soundscape park on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center.
The art community of Miami embraces the excitement of Basel. In addition to the actual exhibition, satellite events and smaller fairs take place throughout the city. Local hotels become venues to show the work of less established galleries and the artists they represent, allowing for the seldom seen works of emerging artists to become a part of this art environment. As always, Miami Beach’s leading private collections, such as the Rubell Family Collection, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, open their doors to visitors, putting on museum-quality exhibitions to run in conjunction with the Basel Art Fair. In addition, there are fabulous museum shows across South Florida. Most notably, the Pérez Art Museum will be presenting works by Mario Garcia Torres in addition to their solo shows by Beatriz Milhazes and Geoffrey Farmer. Another show not to be missed is Café Dolly at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Although north of the main fair, this exhibition which highlights Julian Schnabel, Picabia and Willumsen is definitely not a sight to miss.
Whether you’re buying or observing, the Basel Art Fair is a great form of entertainment that should not be missed. It gives you the opportunity to expand your artistic taste by interpreting the new trends. It is a rare chance to engage in important creative and social conversations that are often missing in our everyday lives. The fair runs December 4-7, 2014 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.