Art Basel Isn't Leaving the Miami Beach Convention Center, Despite What You've Heard

Mark Twain famously once said that reports of his demise were "greatly exaggerated." The same could be said of recent reports that Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) is shunning being shoehorned into a smaller space at the Miami Beach Convention Center during its impending 2016-2018 construction.

In fact, Art Basel, the Convention Center's highest wattage client, recently committed to remaining at the SoBe conference hall for another five years.

But unlike other marquee conventions such as the Miami International Boat Show, which might be forced to find a new home while the convention center is refurbished, the planned 36-month $500 million construction project will be scheduled around Art Basel's traditional December dates to accommodate what has become the most important event on Miami's cultural calendar.

Each December close to 300 top-shelf galleries from countries representing North and Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia showcase 20th- and 21st-century works by more than 2,000 artists during ABMB.

Last year upwards of 60,000 visitors poured through the doors of the Convention Center making for one of the art confab's best attended events ever.

But that hasn't prevented several news sources from picking up on rumors that ABMB is being squeezed into a space half its usual size -- and even that the fair is considering other locations because of it.

"The City of Miami Beach has been outstanding in supporting Art Basel's presence here and last year was one of our busiest on record," says Bob Goodman, the art fair's Florida representative. "I don't know where these rumors start, but we are not moving elsewhere. While the city will be alternating refurbishing two of its four halls at a time and other events might be impacted or forced to scale back, Art Basel Miami Beach will take place as scheduled without interruptions and in its traditional four hall format since construction has been planned around our dates."

So fear not, Miami Beach lovers of art, champagne, and pretense.

"Honestly, I don't know how to respond to these non-stories that end up printed without fact checking," Goodman says. "It's baffling!"

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