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Art Basel Announces "OVR: Miami Beach" and Design Miami Set to Return to the Design District

No need for a map at Art Basel's "OVR: Miami Beach."
No need for a map at Art Basel's "OVR: Miami Beach."
Photo by George Martinez

Last month, Art Basel announced it was forgoing the trip across the Atlantic to hold its Miami Beach edition in the midst of the pandemic. At the same time, it quietly announced that it would be premiering its online viewing rooms (OVR) for two exhibitions focusing on works made in the 20th century and works made during 2020.

Essentially a virtual art fair, "OVR:2020" seemed to go fairly well for Art Basel during its four-day run in September. Featuring 100 galleries from 28 countries, the online event saw strong engagement from art collectors worldwide, according to Art Basel. "OVR:20c," the exhibition focusing on 20th-century art, is scheduled to take place on October 28-31.

Perhaps sensing an opportunity to stay engaged with the global art market, Art Basel has announced the Miami Beach show is back on — sort of.

"OVR: Miami Beach" will act as a virtual version of the show usually held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, running from December 4-6 with preview days on December 2-4. The show will be made up of five sectors — Galleries, Edition, Nova, Positions, and Survey — and feature the galleries originally accepted to the 2020 Miami Beach fair. There will also be online events taking place, including a series of virtual conversations.

In addition to the online show, Art Basel has pledged to support the cultural offerings during Miami Art Week put on by museums, foundations, nonprofits, and galleries. The Swiss fair says it will present content from Miami's cultural institutions and amplify the activations in the Design District.

Yes, Design Miami, Art Basel's sister fair focused on furniture, lighting, and other decorative arts, will go forward in December. It will forgo the massive tent in the Miami Beach Convention Center's parking lot for a more intimate affair at the Moore Building. The fair will run from November 28-December 6, with a preview day on November 27. Design Miami actually first launched at the Moore Building in 2005, so its return is a homecoming of sorts.

The 16th edition will also mark the launch of the Design Miami/Podium, which will allow for both galleries and individual designers to exhibit — previously, only galleries were allowed. The theme of this year's fair will be "America(s)," which is described as a "timely exhibition [that] calls into question the meaning and understanding of America and its identify through the juxtaposition of important works of design and craft."

In addition to Design Miami, the Design District will host international galleries that usually exhibit at Art Basel, activations, and live events starting on November 27.

Other fairs like Scope and Art Miami have also announced virtual shows that will coincide with Miami Art Week, while several museums, private collections, and galleries are moving forward with their planned December exhibits. New Times has been told by several of Miami's art contingent that this year's Miami Art Week will serve as an opportunity to showcase the city and its artists without all the extra noise that usually takes over the first week of December.

Indeed, Miami Art Week 2020 may be proof that the Magic City's art scene has come a long way since the Swiss fair first arrived in 2002.

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