Mark Dahle's tips for visiting
Art Basel Miami Beach
and Miami Art Week
December 6-10, 2017


The world's best contemporary art exhibit
is open now through Sunday

Moore building, Miami Art Week

"Abstract / Not Abstract," an exhibition by Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian will be at the Moore building, 191 NE 40th St.,
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.


Miami Art Week is your best opportunity to see the most modern and contemporary art in the shortest amount of time - and this guide will help you maximize your trip.

Miami palm

More than a dozen great art fairs (and a few not so great) come to Miami on the same weekend, creating the biggest collection of contemporary art anywhere in the world. If you like contemporary art, this is an extraordinary event you don't want to miss.

The biggest of the fairs is Art Basel Miami Beach, with more than 200 galleries from around the world setting up in the Miami Beach Convention Center. If you want to see a painting or sculpture worth more than $10 million, chances are that this is where you'll have to go to.

Art Miami/Context, with a combined total of 235 galleries at their new downtown location, is also a "can't miss" exhibit.

If you like street art, this year you need to go to Scope or possibly Red Dot and Spectrum. Go to all three for a sense of how much appropriated art is being created and marketed these days.

Miami Beach map

2017 art fair changes: Art Miami, Context, Red Dot and Spectrum are all moving from Wynwood to Downtown Miami. NADA is moving from North Beach to Downtown. And Miami Project has bowed out, at least for a year. That leaves Pulse in a more lonely location, pretty much by itself in Mid Beach.

These changes will likely bring some welcome traffic relief to Wynwood. But the city plans to close one of the main streets for art, music and parties - NW Second Avenue - after 4 p.m. on the weekend, giving access only to pedestrians. If you're trying to see just the art in the area, you might want to leave by then and avoid the congestion.

Oscar Murillo painting at RFC

Oscar Murillo painting at the Rubell Family Collection, 2012.

Meanwhile, traffic from Miami Beach into downtown Miami is impacted quite a bit. Grab an art newspaper and plan to read a lot if you're traveling from one area to another on a shuttle. (See our transportation guide below.)

Why go: Miami Art Week gives everyone a chance to see a snapshot of thousands of examples of what's currently selling and being promoted in the world of contemporary art. There's no where else you can see this much in such a short amount of time.

Get your walking shoes ready! In three full days (from noon to 10 p.m.) you can see most of the art fairs and the three private collections you don't want to miss. In four or five days you can add most of the Miami art museums and the Wynwood art galleries.

If you don't have that long, don't let the size of the event put you off. If you only have two hours, use it to see some great art. And if you only have an hour, come to San Diego in January for my annual one-hour summary of all the highlights. (Sign Up to get a reminder.)

David Rodriguez, Pausa (Hiatus)

David Rodriguez, Pausa (Hiatus), at Art Miami

Besides comfortable walking shoes, you'll need a credit card or plenty of cash. Your art education won't be cheap. Art Basel Miami Beach is $60. ($50 online.) Art Miami is $50. The prices for most of the other fairs range from $20 to $35, with discounts for students and seniors. Two smaller fairs, Miami River and Ink, are free. GoldStar.com may still have half price tickets for Red Dot/Spectrum and Form.

2017 hotel changes: Besides evaluating whether the best location for your hotel might be South Beach or downtown, you should check to make sure your hotel will be open during your stay. Some hotels have closed for renovations because of Hurricane Irma, and not all of them have notified their guests who have reservations. (Mine didn't!) If you have a reservation, you should re-confirm it with the hotel directly. And if you haven't made a reservation yet, now is the time. See our hotel section below.

The Marguilies Collection

Anselm Kiefer at The Marguilies Collection in Wynwood, 2016.

IMPORTANT TIP: There is more art scattered throughout the city than you can see in a day. Pick one location and see as much as you can before moving to another neighborhood. If you don't, you'll be stuck in traffic, wondering why you rejected this advice.

Along the way, pretend it's an adventure and expect a few things not to work out. In past years a smaller art fair was cancelled the day it was scheduled to open. Another one closed early. A third - one of the biggest - had no electricity for hours at a time. (No lights for the paintings, no air conditioning for the guests.) A fourth "art fair" was an art gallery trying to draw traffic to their tiny venue. I've tried to keep up to date with everything and to steer you just to the best. But you're bound to encounter some unexpected problems. The payoff is that you'll also discover some unexpectedly great art.

You can jump to the information you're interested in by clicking the following links or just keep scrolling through all our great tips.:

Hotels Transportation Friday - Saturday Sunday Mark Dahle home


Banksy at Art Miami

Banksy at Art Miami in 2015.



 

Friday/Saturday, Dec. 8-9

Your best bets for Friday/Saturday: pick either South Beach or Downtown and see all you can before moving on.

Want something late night? Spectrum and Red Dot are open until 10 p.m. Friday. Aqua is open until 9 pm Friday and Saturday. If you like street art, the party lasts until 3 a.m. at 550 NW 24th St., with 30+ food trucks, live music and 100+ "lifestyle" vendors.


DOWNTOWN, Friday/Saturday, December 8/9:

Art Miami, One Herald Plaza and NE 14th St, is open 11-8.

Context, One Herald Plaza and NE 14th St, is open 11-8.

NADA, 1400 N Miami Ave, is open 11-7.

Spectrum, 1700 NE 2nd Ave, is open 1-10 Friday and 1-9 Saturday.

Red Dot, 1700 NE 2nd Ave, is open 1-10 Friday and 1-9 Saturday.

The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), 1103 Biscayne Blvd, is open 10-6.


SOUTH BEACH, Friday/Saturday, December 8/9:

Art Basel Miami Beach, 1901 Convention Center Dr, 12 - 8 pm.

Scope, Ocean Drive and 8th St, 11 am - 8 pm.

Untitled, Ocean Drive and 12th St, 11 am - 7 pm.

Form, 1723 Washington St., 11 am - 8 pm Friday; noon - 8 Saturday

Aqua, 1530 Collins, 12-9 pm

Ink, 1850 Collins, 10 am - 8 pm (this is a smaller fair focusing on multiples)

Wolfsonian, 1001 Washington, is open 10-6.

Bass Art Museum, 2100 Collins, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Design Miami, Meridian & 19th, 11-8 Friday and 12-8 Saturday (this is not an art show)

Karlos Carcamo's Hard Edge Painting

Karlos Carcamo's Hard Edge Painting at Scope 2011.


MID and NORTH BEACH, Friday/Saturday, December 8/9:

Pulse, 4601 Collins Ave, 10-7.

Satellite, 7410 Ocean Terrace, 2-10 pm (a smaller fair in an abandoned hotel)


WYNWOOD, Friday/Saturday, December 8/9:

Wynwood art galleries host an art walk Saturday evening, so you may want to time your visit to Wynwood to coincide with that. Note that NW Second Avenue will be closed to vehicles from NW 22 St to NW 29 St. after 4 p.m. Expect parking and traffic to be congested.

Pinta, 2217 NW 5th Ave, is open 12-8 p.m.

Superfine, 56 NE 29th St, 1-11 p.m.

The Margulies Collection at 591 NW 27th St will be open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

You can catch graffiti art on the buildings around Wynwood. Start at Wynwood Walls, 252 NW 2nd Ave., and fan out from there. The Walls themselves are open 10 a.m to midnight. But if you're there, don't stop at the entrance. Go all the way to the back -- through the Wynwood door -- and keep going back to the Gallery.

If you like street art, at 550 NW 24th St. there will be 30+ food trucks, live music and 100 "lifestyle" vendors from noon to 3 a.m.


DESIGN DISTRICT, Friday/Saturday, December 8/9:

Abstract/Not Abstract, an exhibition presented by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Moore Building, 191 NE 40th St.

de la Cruz, 23 NE 41st St is open 10-4.

Institute of Contemporary Art, 61 NE 41 St, is open 9 a.m to 8 p.m.


Aqua Art Fair
Aqua is open until late

A few art fairs (like Aqua, Ink and Satellite) are staged in hotel rooms. I visit Aqua after Art Basel Miami Beach closes for the day, since Aqua is open late Thursday through Saturday.

Sunday, Dec. 10

painting by David Bates, Arthur Roger Gallery.

David Bates, Arthur Roger Gallery at Art Miami.


DOWNTOWN, Sunday, December 10:

Art Miami, One Herald Plaza and NE 14th St, is open 11-6.

Context, One Herald Plaza and NE 14th St, is open 11-6.

NADA, 1400 N Miami Ave, is open 11-5.

Spectrum, 1700 NE 2nd Ave, is open 12-5.

Red Dot, 1700 NE 2nd Ave, is open 12-5.

The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), 1103 Biscayne Blvd, is open 10-6.


SOUTH BEACH, Sunday, December 10:

Art Basel Miami Beach, 1901 Convention Center Dr, 12-6 pm.

Scope, Ocean Drive and 8th St, 11 am - 8 pm.

Untitled, Ocean Drive and 12th St, 11 am - 5 pm.

Form, 1723 Washington St., noon - 6 pm, $25.

Aqua, 1530 Collins, 11-6 pm

Ink, 1850 Collins, 10 am - 3 pm (this is a smaller fair focusing on multiples)

Wolfsonian, 1001 Washington, is open 12-6.

Bass Art Museum, 2100 Collins, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Design Miami, Meridian & 19th, 12-6 (this is not an art show)


MID and NORTH BEACH, Sunday, December 10:

Pulse, 4601 Collins Ave, 10-5

Satellite, 7410 Ocean Terrace, 2-6 pm


WYNWOOD, Sunday, December 10:

Pinta, 2217 NW 5th Ave, is open 12-7 p.m.

Superfine, 56 NE 29th St, 1-8 p.m.

The Margulies Collection at 591 NW 27th St will be open 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. $10

Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29 St, may be open. $10.

You can catch graffiti art on the buildings around Wynwood. Start at Wynwood Walls, 252 NW 2nd Ave., and fan out from there. The Walls are open from 10:30 am to 11:30 pm. If you like street art, be sure to get to 550 NW 24th St. There will be 30+ food trucks, live music and 100 "lifestyle" vendors from noon to 9 p.m. Note that NW Second Avenue will be closed to vehicles from NW 22 St to NW 29 St. after 4 p.m. Expect parking and traffic to be congested.


DESIGN DISTRICT, Sunday, December 10:

Abstract/Not Abstract, an exhibition presented by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch, is scheduled to be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Moore Building, 191 NE 40th St.

Institute of Contemporary Art, 61 NE 41 St, says it will be open 9 a.m to 8 p.m., but confirm these hours if you plan to go late in the day.


Street art in Wynwood, Miami

Street art on a building in Wynwood. Note the car roof in the lower left for a perspective of scale.

Julia and Liz Nolan at Spectrum Art Fair, Miami

Julia and Liz Nolan from Big Brother 17 at the 2015 VIP opening of Spectrum Art Fair, Miami

Transportation and Hotels. Still to come in this report: tips on transportation, hotels, and an unforgettable trip to Everglades National Park if you have an extra day.

Hotels. The sooner you book a hotel, the more choice you'll have. I recommend you choose a hotel in South Beach or downtown Miami to cut down on commute time.

But watch the reviews and ratings of the hotels before you book. Prices during Art Basel weekend will not necessarily reflect quality.

Transportation. The main tip on transportation is to go to a location like South Beach or downtown Miami and stay there for as long as you can. The traffic jams will affect any transportation you try, whether your own car, limo, shuttle, cab, or bus.

Car
In prior years I recommended that you pre-arrange parking or you may not find a place to park. That advice applied mostly to Wynwood, although South Beach can also be a problem. Parking in Wynwood might be easier this year, but I'll stick with this advice until I see an improvement.

Cabs
Traffic will often be clogged around the art fairs, so you may be tempted to leave the entrances to hail a cab somewhere else. It won't work. Empty cabs are difficult to find outside the main art areas during Miami Art Week.

Lyft, Uber and limos
If you schedule a ride to pick you up a block away from the areas where traffic is clogged you will save quite a bit of time.

Bus
If you arrive by air and plan to take a city bus some or all of the time, stop at the bus shelter in the airport terminal area and get a multi-day pass. Passes are very hard to find once you leave the airport.

One thing you need to know about the Miami bus system: you have to flag the bus like you would hail a cab. Otherwise they will drive right by, even if you are at the bus stop.

Use maps.google.com and click the bus/train icon to find the best option for how to get to where you want to go.

Street art in Wynwood Miami

Street art in Wynwood.

In 1993, Morley Safer (right) did a story for 60 Minutes called "Yes...But is it art?" In 2013 he was at Art Basel Miami Beach to do a follow-up. The answer to his original question according to CBS? "Whatever it is, it's worth a 1,000 times more than when you first mocked it."

 

Eli Broad gave a preview of his museum a year before it opened.

Joanne Heyler, Elizabeth Diller, Eli Broad, and Paul Goldberger discussed The Broad Museum (then under construction) at Art Basel Miami Beach 2013.


Other pages on art that you might be interested in:

Art Basel Switzerland ArtPrize New York Art Galleries Venice Biennale


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Pelican nesting in treeIf you have an extra day: If you have an extra day or if you just need a break from seeing so much art, there's nothing like Everglades National Park. But forget the bus tours.

You can see ten times more if you rent a car and drive. You can be at the park in an hour and a half. Just inside the entrance, turn left at Royal Palm. The Anhinga Trail is a short, flat boardwalk. Within two minutes you'll be looking at birds so big that anyone will be able to spot them.

You won't see as many gators as you would in warmer months. But if you hear the reeds cracking, it's because something big is moving through them. Listen carefully and you may be able to spot a gator.

(When you rent your car, be sure to get insurance for the vehicle. There are vultures in the parking lot who like to eat the rubber around car doors.)

To make your trip really worthwhile, drive another 45 minutes to the Flamingo Visitor Center and rent a kayak for a couple hours. You'll be able to see more wonderful birds up close. If you're already in Miami, there's no reason to miss this great adventure.

Spoonbill


Everglades National Park, view from a kayak

If you need a break either before or after the event, Everglades National Park is only an hour and a half away. Rent a car and skip the bus tours, which don't go to the park itself. But get car insurance. The vultures like rubber on cars.

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