Cultist Guide to Satellite Art Fairs: Part One

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Alright, the art season is officially upon us, Miami. A flurry of gallery, museum, and art fair openings will make it almost impossible to walk, think, and see straight this week. But this is no time to crawl under the table and hide. Yes, the traffic will be thick, the crowds will be buzzing, and the sheer volume of modern and contemporary art on view will be dizzying. And you, the culturally-intrepid citizens of the 305, deserve a digestible guide to the major satellite fairs springing up between South Beach, Wynwood, and the Design District.

Art Basel is just one of the dozens of art fairs rolling in this week. And there's something to satisfy every artistic temperament: cautious newcomers, counterculture rebels, and highbrow connoisseurs. Part One will feature those based in Miami Beach.

1. NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance)
2 to 8 p.m. December 2, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 3 and 4, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 5 at 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Free admission. Visit newartdealers.org.

Held at the Deauville Beach Resort, the epitome of Rat Pack panache, NADA boasts booths arranged as French ballrooms, complete with opulent chandeliers hovering over some pretty cutting-edge work. Our very own Bas Fisher Invitational and Twenty Twenty Projects will join more than 90 exhibitors presenting affordable but stunningly edgy and elegant contemporary projects. On December 3, nonprofit photography project Humble Arts Foundation will debut Manual Transmission Miami, an intriguing mixed-media installation/performance projecting original works onto screens surrounding the Deauville's pool area. With a mission that states, "We believe the adversarial approach to exhibiting and selling art has run its course," this fair is sure to deliver some subversive visuals. Click here to see a slideshow of last year's NADA.

2. Design Miami/
Noon to 8 p.m. December 1 through 4 and noon to 6 p.m. December 5 at Meridian Avenue and 19th Street, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $15 to $25. Visit designmiami.com.

Design Miami/ is the only Art Basel satellite fair that concentrates on applied design elements -- i.e., furniture, lighting design, and interior décor. Limited editions of modern-era home and commercial furnishings are on view from firms based in New York, Paris, London, and Brussels. This year, the fair features an interactive, multimedia project from fashion house Fendi and New York architects Aranda/Lasch, who have also designed a special "mini city" pavilion that serves as the exhibition venue itself. Click here to see a slideshow from last year's Design Miami/.

3. Aqua Art Fair
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 2 through 4 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 5 at 1530 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $10. Visit aquaartmiami.com.

Now in its sixth year, this breezy, indie soirée returns to its roots on South Beach after a brief stay in Wynwood. It features mostly West Coast-bred creatives set against an intimate, but vibrant hotel courtyard display. Expect affordable, offbeat works, with a few iconic names such as Diane Arbus, Frank Stella, Ansel Adams, and Henri Cartier-Bresson thrown into the mix. Forty-three galleries from across the United States and Canada offer an enticing alternative to the massive undertaking that is Art Basel in the Convention Center. Aqua Art is a healthy dose of the hip and underground.

4. Verge Art Fair
Noon to 8 p.m. December 3 and 4 and noon to 6 p.m. December 5 at 1732 Collins Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $5 to $20. Visit vergeartfair.com.

This nifty tossed salad of offerings strikes palatable balances that won't leave you feeling hungry for fresher talent a half-hour after leaving. If Verge Art Fair is good enough for Charles Saatchi and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, surely local and visiting art-lurkers can keep pace with this showcase of exclusively emerging artists. With fairs held in New York and Basel each year, Verge swells with unique works and projects, riding its popularity from its Miami debut last year. The small, fashionable Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach will host this year's Verge. The fair includes a drawing show, highlighting the oft-overlooked medium, and a DIY event founded by the show's creators, Edouard Steinhauer and Michael Workman.

Stay tuned...we'll be profiling eight more art fairs worth a visit this week. Click for Part Two.

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