Is the Art Week Elf Going to Leave Anything Under Our Pillows in 2020?

What Is An Artophile To Do?

Irene Sperber

The very first Art Basel Miami Beach extravaganza was usurped by 9/11 in 2001. Planned and plotted, the postponement of the inaugural Art Basel Miami Beach hit the city and art world hard. As per our species, we eventually opted to pick up pieces, going forward with local satellite shows and events. People needed succor, ergo the arts community cobbled together what turned out to be a memorable cathartic balm for 2001.

Here we are again, 19 years later, another excessively difficult and devastating situation slows humankind down to a crawl as we struggle through the pandemic, a situation unfamiliar to our antibiotic and vaccine conditioned modern reality and previous ability to smooth over any anomaly.

Events both virtual and not-so-virtual have kept us plugged into what had been a cultural buffet of endless creativity and commerce, a time when the planet brought its largess to our doorstep. Art Week 2020 in early December still has actual (stay tuned) as well as virtual events available for people that still enjoy getting out of their day pajamas.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2020: CANCELLED.

Now what?

Resin and neon floor lamp, created by Sabine Marcelis for Side Gallery in 2020. (Courtesy of Design Miami)


Resin and neon floor lamp, created by Sabine Marcelis for Side Gallery in 2020. (Courtesy of Design Miami)

Hold on. We still have virtual: Visit Art Basel website.

“The premiere of ‘OVR: Miami Beach’, a new iteration of Art Basel's Online Viewing Rooms featuring galleries accepted to the 2020 edition of the show. 'OVR: Miami Beach' will be accompanied by a program of online events, talks and gallery walk-throughs.”  And that, MAZ readers, is a direct quote.

Put on the comfy-chic attire you have come to develop a love/hate relationship with and let’s see some art. And don’t forget the champagne.

Similar to in-person shows (without the “in-person” part), "OVR: Miami Beach" will have five sectors:

  • “Galleries” features leading galleries.
  • “Edition, exceptional prints and edition works.
  • “Nova”, works created in the last 3 years.
  • “Positions”, emerging artists.
  • “Survey”, works created before 2000.
  • Online Conversations continue to be a cornerstone as well as “…content from leading local museums and galleries, Miami’s renowned private collections, and other cultural organizations that traditionally present…”

Download the 5 star rated official Art Basel app for show information, updated news, a catalog of participants, interactive floor plans and events listings.

Suggestion: Downloading the app may be a prudent thought in this fluctuating weirdness of our present lives, to stay current, given that 2020 has been a tsunami of unanticipated changing circumstances.

Positive angles on virtual art peering:

  1. There’s no reason to make that pesky decision between being shod comfortably vs. wildly tottering high-rise footwear.
  2. No shortage of proper favored snacks.
  3. You still can get out there by posting photos of yourself at home lounging more brilliantly than anyone else as you keep abreast of modern art, 2020 style.

Even if you never stepped a toenail into the Miami Beach Convention Center in early December during the past 19 years, Art Basel was/is a citywide event. It affected pretty much the entire population in one way or another: traffic, commerce, trend setting, fashion, blatant property selling….it was/is a potpourri of opportunity.

But wait. Art Basel Miami Beach is not the full stop agenda. Several of the art fair organizers are threatening to trot out (mostly) virtual exhibitions. Start checking with sites late in November, it will/should/might all become clear-“ish”.

In case you need a refresher.

Henry Darger, at Wickey Lansina, escape with their brother/at Jennie Richie Breaking jail second time 1930-1950 (Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York City and Art Basel)


Henry Darger, at Wickey Lansina, escape with their brother/at Jennie Richie Breaking jail second time 1930-1950 (Courtesy of Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York City and Art Basel)

Design Miami, Art Miami, Aqua, CONTEXT, Red Dot, Spectrum, Ink, Scope, Untitled (online viewing rooms), Pinta, Prizm, VOLTA (postponed inaugural Miami event until Dec 2021), Art NOW .

Art Miami including Context and Aqua, are canceled for 2020, but Art Palm Beach (Jan 2021) and Art Wynwood (Feb 2021) are still scheduled.

Virtual SCOPE Immersive Miami Beach Part 2 Dec 1-6: Thirty exhibitors will be “remotely in a curated digital and (3-dimensional) interactive space.”

NADA appears to have a few things in mind, announcing a reformatted in-person and online presence taking place in multiple cities, December 1–5. It seems that Miami will be the online version with Conversations and performances showcasing rising talents from over the world.

Design Miami

The intrepid styling of the Design Miami show is still on, albeit in a smaller venue.

The new 2020 Podium program will open in DM’s original launch location (2005) in the Design District’s Moore building.

Design Talks Program will augment the show with “discourse, workshops, screenings, performances, and more, surrounding pertinent topics in the design industry.” Again, consulting web sites often will be key in this “who knows” shifting reality.

Curatorial Director Aric Chen will explore “American” identity through art and design works.

Miami Design District will keep you abreast of programming throughout the district as it is made available. Design Miami assures us this will include “temporary exhibitions by international galleries who regularly take part in Art Basel, as well as further programming by partnering institutions.”

The point of Art Basel and all relative conventions worldwide is and always has been the industry angle. Art Basel Miami Beach upped the ante to highlight fashion, trends and ensuing products. Many of the articles I read lamented the loss of potentially 30-50% of annual sales to follow up business in smaller to medium galleries. A recent study from Art Basel and UBS shared that art fair cancellations in the first half of 2020 as instrumental in total art sales depressed from 46 percent in 2019 to just 16 percent in the first half of 2020.

Photo Courtesy of Art Basel


Photo Courtesy of Art Basel

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told Miami Today that “more private jets show up to Art Basel than the Super Bowl.” That’s going to hurt ($).

All tough realities in a year awash in strange, difficult and unanticipated change.

On the plus side, the risk is reduced along with overhead for gallery participants. And they’ll still have the Virtual Viewing Rooms.

There you have it. All things must change.

"If you can't change it, change your attitude.” (Maya Angelou).

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic” (Peter Drucker).

Art Basel

  • Visit Art Basel website
  • Schedule:
    • Dec 2 - 4 (10am): VIP preview days.
    • Dec 4 (10am) - 6 (midnight): ‘OVR: Miami Beach’ (events and times To Be Announced).

Design Miami

  • Visit Design Miami website
  • Schedule:
    • Nov 27: VIP Preview Day
    • Nov 28-Dec 6: Public days
  • Address:

      Moore Building
      191 NE 40 St
      Miami, 33137

Miami Design District

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