So who came out on top last week? And who got trampled beneath the hordes of arty onlookers?
Year-round culture. Art Week had only just begun when the Knight Foundation dropped some major news: The organization pumped $37 million into Miami's arts community. The funds will buoy big names such as New World Symphony and the Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as individual artists such as Octavia Yearwood and the band Afrobeta. Art Basel mayhem lasts only one week, but investments like this allow Miamians to enjoy the arts year-round.
anti-trans statements made by the company's CMO last month. But there was far more to the show, including artist Emilio Rojas' captivating, heart-wrenching performance, which included tattooing the shape of the U.S.-Mexico border along his spine and bringing several onlookers to tears; and Franky Cruz's canvases created by butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.
Marginalized groups. To be clear, the art world has a long, long way to go before women and people of color are fairly represented. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the justly popular works created by them at Miami Art Week this year. Derrick Adams' playground at Faena, inspired by Overtown's history, was a fixture on social media feeds. Judy Chicago's exhibits at the ICA and the gallery Nina Johnson made headlines. The Miami Girls' Foundation staged a public performance at Untitled. And events focusing on artists of color seemed to have multiplied, with the Museum of Contemporary Art's "AfriCobra," "Darker Gods," and others joining long-running fairs such as Art Africa and Prizm.
Live music. As New Times pointed out last week, Miami Art Week has transformed into a mini Miami Music Week, with all the DJ-heavy parties that implies. With several notable exceptions, live music was nearly absent in comparison with previous years. And maybe that's because audiences are no longer hungry for it. A Women/N/Sound showcase featuring Leikeli47 at Yo Space had onlookers fired up — but the crowd was sparse. And audiences at Saturday night's Pharrell performance, part of American Express's Platinum House at 1 Hotel South Beach, barely moved as the artist brought out N.E.R.D. collaborator Shay Haley for several throwback hits. The lack of enthusiasm was so apparent that Pharrell called it out, at one point shrugging, "OK, we'll be out of your hair soon."
12-foot vagina? Where were the pink snails and the artist living in a literal pigsty? The art on view during Basel week this year was relatively subdued. Sure, there were outliers, such as the 30-foot tall homage to Pac-Man called Rainbow Bridge. But there wasn't that one piece of art that got the whole city talking, as has happened in past years. Maybe that's a good thing; art week needs more intimate experiences. But for looky-loos in search of Instagram gold, Basel was a bust.