Art Basel 2012 Satellite Installations Are Turning Miami's Waterways into Art Galleries

See New Art Basel Satellite Fair to Install Swimming Pool in the Miami River.

Public art installations during Art Basel are nothing new. (Think: pink snails; pop-up pianos.) But this year, perhaps more than any edition of the art fest in the past, those installations are literally diving right into the Miami scene.

When Art Basel and its satellite events return to Miami in December, some of the biggest and weirdest installations in town will be found not inside the convention center or the fair tents, but floating in the bays and rivers of the 305.

The latest floating art project in the works is Lloyd Goradesky's "Gator in the Bay," a barge stretching 230 ft. in length with the head of a gator and a mosaic of photo tiles composing its body. It'll be "swimming" around the bay between Miami and Miami Beach for four days during Art Basel.

Compared to art events in places like South Beach or Wynwood, project manager Cesar Becerra says, the bay is "a large canvas that remains blank, especially at night."

The body of the barge will consist of panels measuring 4 ft. by 8 ft., featuring photos of Florida nature -- flamingos, for example. The head of the gator's due to be constructed out of recycled metal materials. Waddy Thompson, "gator engineer" on the project, explains in the video above, "It's just cool to take something that's already been thrown away and make it go again."

The team is funding its project through Kickstarter.

And that's just one of the waterborne art installations headed to Miami this year. Dr. Petra Liebl-Osborne is also plotting a floating exhibit, this one due to be installed adjacent to the new Miami River International Contemporary Fair when it debuts in Brickell. And unlike a 230-ft. gator, this one could inspire art patrons to jump into the water themselves.

Liebl-Osborne's project: a swimming pool floating in the river, designed to provoke thought and conversation on the topic of natural and artificial uses of water in society. If the project is approved, the artist told us in June, it'll feature a "barge-sized pool with two ladders and [a] jumping board with a lit surface."

Granted, two installations does not an art trend make. But as Miami's land-based art scene gets increasingly crowded with each passing year, its seems natural, if quirky, for its artists to take to the seas. And Art Basel is still months away, so who knows what other water art is in the works?

Hey, as long as there's a chance we'll get to see some drunk art snob fall into the river, we're all about it.

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