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The Art Basel labyrinth contains treasures aplenty yet nowhere else inside will visitors find the sort of epic installations displayed at OmniArt, a former unofficial Basel favorite.
Housed in three nondescript warehouses west of the Miami Performing Arts Center, last year's OmniArt 1 featured awe-inspiring works like Kaarina Kaikkonen's And It Was Empty, a blue-hued horizon made from 800 men's jackets suspended floor to ceiling over a span of ten meters.
Although this weekend's event will take place in the same location, the trio of buildings has dwindled to two, but OmniArt's artistic director Tina Spiro promises the slew of large-scale works will likely draw more than 10,000 visitors just as they did in 2004.
Curated by New York-based Julia Herzberg and Carol Damian, chair of the art and art history department at Florida International University, OmniArt 3 (OmniArt 2 was a slim exhibit during Art Miami 2005) will showcase the works of 50 artists from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, including some of Miami's own.
"The idea is to comingle Miami artists and international artists," says Spiro, OmniArt founder and codirector of Chelsea Galleria in Wynwood. "The big names draw major critics, collectors, and curators to the show, giving local artists exposure."
On the big-name roster, Helga Griffiths will install a work, inspired by the molecular structure of DNA, that combines scent and audio. Griffiths exhibited a similar piece made from 10,000 perfume test strips at the 2002 International Paper Biennial in Düren, Germany.
OmniArt 1 star Finnish sculptor Kaarina Kaikkonen will also return with an installation of toilet paper strips suspended 35 feet across a warehouse.
Standout local artists include Wendy Wischer, Jason Ferguson, Tori Arpad, and Billie Grace Lynn; students from FIU and Miami's Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH); as well as a special group of Overtown artists organized by Marvin Weeks.
Festivities begin December 2 at 8:30 p.m., with a traditional Haitian Ra Ra road march organized by Edouard Duval-Carrié and led by local musician and DASH instructor Jon Sebon. The band will set off from Biscayne Boulevard and head west on NE 13th Street.