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Miami Art Week 2019

December is here and all the paths of contemporary art end up in Miami, USA. The first edition of Art Basel Miami Beach happened in 2001 and, since then, this week known as Art Basel Week or Miami Art Week never stopped growing. The boundaries quickly transcended Art Basel Miami Beach. Today, we witness in a short period of time, what’s certainly one of the most important world concentrations of initiatives related to the contemporary artistic creation.

This week that would typically start on Tuesday or Wednesday with inaugurations and previews of the week’s main events (which would evolve to three or four very intense days) it’s now encompassing the previous days/week, as a result of the massive increase of satellite events to Art Basel, also seeking the welcoming acceptance by the overall audience.

Over the past almost twenty years, Art Basel Miami Beach built the foundation for everything that is happening during these days in Miami. The unapologetic capitalist market of the United States grabbed this opportunity guaranteeing this strategic partnership, enabling Miami to have nowadays, an extraordinary economic and cultural flow, with an unmatchable comparison worldwide.

Just regarding art fair events, whose numbers change annually and go way beyond Art Basel and Miami Beach, can be counted about 20 more, scattered between Miami and Miami Beach: Aqua Art Miami, Art Now Fair, Design Miami, Ink Miami, PULSE Miami Beach, Scope Miami Beach, Superfine Miami Beach, Untitled Miami Beach. Em Miami, Art Beat Miami, Art Miami, Context Art Miami, Fridge Art Fair Miami, Miami River Art Fair, NADA Miami, Pinta Miami, Prizm Art Fair, Red Dot Miami and Spectrum Miami. In addition to these, there are many others that surge in a pop-up format just a few days or weeks before, increasing the list that was already particularly congested.

Art Basel, the pioneer of this “occupation” continues to operate at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC), that went through a structural renovation over the past three years, endowing the city with a unique infrastructure. This newly renovated complex that belongs to the City of Miami Beach, established recently a partnership contract with Art Basel that can reach-up, to a ten-year duration. Art Basel’s exhibition space occupies about 50.000 m2 throughout the different sections: Nova, Positions, Edition, Kabinett, Survey, Magazines, and the Conversations Sector. This year, there is also the inauguration of the Meridians sector, located at the northern part of the Convention Centre, known as the Grand Ballroom, a space uniquely devoted to large-scale projects. This year’s edition of Meridians is curated by Magalí Arriola, the recently appointed director of the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City. Ms. Arriola had the opportunity to express her enthusiasm when selected for the curation of the project: “I am thrilled to steer this fantastic project. Meridians brings enormous possibilities to Art Basel in Miami Beach, creating a vibrant platform for large-scale sculptures, installations and moving image works, as well as performance – which did not have a dedicated space at the fair until now”. (Source: Art Basel – Sutton London)

Noah Horowitz, Director for the Americas of Art Basel, while taking into account the work and investments done in the past two years, mentioned: “The sheer scale of the Grand Ballroom and its immediate proximity to the show floor give us unprecedented opportunities to present ambitious artistic projects that go far beyond the limits of the conventional art fair layout. In combination with the new floorplan and show design that we’ve introduced over the last two years – as a result of the completed renovations of the MBCC – this initiative heralds an exciting new chapter for Art Basel in Miami Beach.” (Source: Art Basel – Sutton London)

This year, the expectations for the number of visitors just for Art Basel, at all sectors, is that will reach 90 000 surpassing the 80 000 figure achieved in 2018. Following the same logic and conceptual format of the other shows, the organization of Art Basel’s Miami Beach edition, will highlight galleries and artists coming from the Americas which representation reaches almost 50% of the fair. Also, from a geographical point of view, this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach is extending to Miami the project that began in 2017, in Buenos Aires: Art Basel Cities, with the public exhibition of works of art at the Collins Park, entitled Disruptions. This exhibition presents six large-scale works, with the participation of an intergenerational group of Argentinian artists: Matías Duville, Graciela Hasper, Marie Orensanz, Pablo Reinoso, Marcela Sinclair and Agustina Woodgate.

During this week, Miami has many other points of interest that will always be exclusive to the city such as the private collections of contemporary art, and some examples are the De La Cruz Collection, The Margulies Collection, or the Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection. All these collections, which open exceptionally with extended public hours in December, establish partnerships with Art Basel, and other art fairs such as Untitled or Pulse, also ensuring a remarkable number of visitors.

Noah Horowitz recently shared some other highlights for 2019, which will take place in the Allapattah neighborhood. Among them, the brand new Rubell Museum, a building designed by Annabelle Selldorf, to be inaugurated with an extraordinary set of works from the Rubell Family Collection, and the Espacio 23, a new contemporary art space founded by the collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez. Among the various institutional partnerships that Art Basel has established over the years, Horowitz highlighted the exhibitions at local museums: Sterling Ruby and Wong Ping at the ICA Miami (Institute of Contemporary Art); Haegue Yang and Mickalene Thomas at The Bass; or the provocative collective Where the Oceans Meet at the MDC Museum of Art + Design.

Many other organizations and commercial brands that already have local representation, or fly-in to temporarily set a project in the area, also want to capture some attention and take advantage of the “investments” made during these days in Miami. Some of the most exciting events are organized by MANA Contemporary, that in addition to hosting in their Wynwood space some of the fairs mentioned above (Pinta Miami, Red Dot Miami or Spectrum Miami), partners with other events and exhibitions in downtown Miami – for example, the Open Studios (programming and after-parties), All Dressed Up storefront exhibition or We Buy Gold, an exhibition of the collective Good to Know. Among the foundations/brands developing temporary projects, Audemars Piguet stands out with a temporary structure presenting a sound installation entitled The Art of Listening: Under Water, by Norwegian artist Jana WinderenThe city of Miami Beach it’s also joining this year’s temporary projects with a monumental public installation at the Lincoln Road beach, created by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, “Order of Importance”. There are also historic Miami hotels aiming to mark their presence in this intense art week, and among many others, there’s the Raleigh Hotel that recently renovated its gardens, where it will present what is until today, the largest public exhibition of artists Claude Lalanne (1924-2019) and François-Xavier Lalanne (1927-2008), the duo Les Lalanne. The Faena luxury hotel, recently created a non-profit organization, the Faena Art hosting the Faena Festival since 2018. Last year, this event presented several public works at Faena’s Beach. The first edition was a huge surprise and explored the concept of America as a country, entitled This Is Not America. This year, the Faena Festival has twenty-five artists with commissioned projects, from performance, video, and installation, on the topic The Last Supper (title of the 2019 edition).

Miami’s art week is currently a must-see for any contemporary art enthusiast. As Marc Spiegler recently told Umbigo, Art Basel Miami Beach is a cultural event that goes beyond the art market, encompassing all classes and creative groups.


Sérgio Parreira is a Portuguese Independent Curator currently living in New York. He has an MFA in Painting and an MA in Art Market concluded in 2018 in New York. With more than 8 years of art history studies pursuit in Lisbon, Budapest, Paris, and Macao. Parreira have been curating and producing contemporary art exhibitions for the past 15 years, mostly in Europe. Worked for several cultural institutions and participated in the production and curatorial projects for artists such as Isaac Julian, Miguel Palma, William Kentridge, Gary Hill, Mariko Mori, Rui Horta Pereira, Antoni Muntadas, Sharon Lockhart, Rigo 23, Marcel.li Antunez, Vasco Araújo, among many others. Currently writes for art magazines, with several articles and interviews published. During his professional career also produced and worked for contemporary dance and theater companies and collaborated on the organization of different art events such as FUSO – International Video-Art Festival. Sérgio have lived in different countries in Europe and Asia where besides his curatorial career, worked also as a liaison, cultural producer, and fundraiser.

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