Time to don your very best fashion forward helmet and fasten that designer seat belt for 2021 Art Basel Miami Beach. It’s back. December 2 through 4, the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) will host one of the most coveted modern and contemporary art fairs in all the land.
I am particularly looking forward to this year, not merely because we pretty much skipped a year, (that pesky and still living spiked sculptural virus was in full bloom lest you forget), but international artists have a wealth of topics to sort out, unravel, make palatable or at least understandable.
I’m in need of the deep thoughtful insight a brooding, creative contemporary brain can unearth…ponder from different prisms. I don’t know about you but I’m cleanly out of answers at the moment. I want to know how the world, ground to a halt on its axis but at the same time careening out of control, will reconfigure the picture with myriad jagged puzzle pieces buffeting about.
2021 has experienced several major art fairs already and done well thus far. Contemporary art has continued to change hands at mind slicing values. NFTs have jumped into the game with a neck crunching snap. There are many ways to be be intrigued by the effects of art on the universal stage: aesthetics, ideas and economics are hog-tied into the same box of surprises.
Facts of life: The Contemporary art market has accrued $2.7 billion in auction sales between June 2020 and June 2021 (Artprice October 2021 annual report). This market has grown 2,700% in volume over the last 21 years and 117% within the last 12 months,” essentially driven by NFTs”, sez artmarket.com Best year in auction history. Expect a young batch of artists, and collectors, with contemporary art now leading the market.
Art Basel Miami Beach will end Saturday night. For those of you who used to wait until the more subdued Sunday afternoon to wander quieter halls of the convention center, we /I better do a re-think. That’s three tiny days to see every brush stroke, digital brilliance, sculptural bend of thought…and figure out collectors' focus.
253 galleries from 36 countries and territories and 43 new galleries debut, with an on-line Art Basel Live presence to widen the audience. (I had to look it up: There are 61 colonies or territories and 195 countries in the world).
The fair is divided into sections: Galleries (the main section), Positions (solo presentations for emerging artists), Nova (for new work), Survey (for art created before 2000), and Editions (for work on paper and multiples). If your memory serves you way back to 2019, the new Meridians area will present large-scale artworks (6 this year), curated by Mexico City-based Magalí Arriola, Director of Museo Tamayo. I’m particularly looking forward to the “site-specific installation and a performance-based activation of six body devices by Brendan Fernandes titled ‘Contract and Release’ (2019–2021) presented by moniquemeloche."
The CONVERSATIONS segment of the convention center show are especially of interest. There are subjects where I might possibly be behind the eight ball and welcome an opportunity to play catch-up as technology speeds up the game into ever faster blurring circles, i.e. the NFT art market, post-pandemic resilience and re-inventing the museum.
Whether one is a connoisseur of contemporary art or not, the chance to ogle what collectors collect, the state of the state of things, will be front and center for a few days. Swap out a few brain cells for sparkly new ones. 10 panels are in the Conversations series for 2021. Check the web site for details closer to the date. www.artbasel.com
Design Miami, AB’s contemporary collectable design venue is a favorite of many fair goers. (Dec 1- 5, located next to the MBCC at Meridian Avenue and 19th Street). DM’s 2021's theme, "Human Kind,," at Pride Park across from the Convention Center, will explore how design “can create a more equitable and interconnected future” Those wanting to buy goods online can check out shop.designmiami.com
Basel's Virtual Info
The show will retain the hybrid format for 2021, which is proven vastly effective for opening viewing and participation to the global market. Online Viewing Rooms (OVR) will encourage virtual walk-throughs, conversations, and social media broadcasts. 'OVR: Miami Beach’ is scheduling a VIP preview from Nov. 29, 11 a.m. ET through Wednesday, Nov. 1, artbasel.com/ovr
Did you know? City of Miami Beach (through its Legacy Purchase Program) will obtain one or two artworks from the Nova or Positions sectors to add to the City’s public art collection (yes, the public gets to vote) which will be available for viewing at a publicly accessible area around the Convention Center.
FYI: COVID is still “a thing” throughout the world, so guidelines will exist at the fairs. Be appropriately informed to avoid unnecessary angst and uproar as you stroll in sporting your most carefully assembled togs. Share art not cooties. www.artbasel.com
Which South Florida galleries made the Art Basel cut? Look out for them in the various sections: Acquavella Galleries (New York, Palm Beach), Ben Brown Fine Arts London (Palm Beach, Hong Kong), David Castillo (Miami), Paula Cooper Gallery (New York, Palm Beach), Gavlak (Los Angeles, Palm Beach), Pace Gallery (New York, Palo Alto, Palm Beach, Hong Kong, Seoul, Geneva, London), Fredric Snitzer Gallery (Miami), Piero Atchugarry Gallery, artist Garzón Maria Freire (Miami).
Art Basel Miami Beach 2021
Practical Visitor info: www.artbasel.com
Private Days (by invitation only)
- Tuesday, Nov. 30, 11a.m. to 8 p.m., First Choice VIP cardholders.
- Tuesday, Nov. 30, 4 p.m. to. 8 p.m., Preview VIP cardholders.
- Wednesday, Dec. 1, 11a.m. to 8 p.m., First Choice and Preview VIP cardholders.
- Wednesday., December 1, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Vernissage (by invitation only).
- Thursday, Dec. 2, 11a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday, Dec. 3, 11a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday. Dec. 4, 11 a.m .to 6 p.m.
Miami Beach Convention Center - 1901 Convention Center Drive Miami Beach, FL 33139.