So the traffic's thinned, the pavilions are gone, and the folks in red pants have returned to the freezing temperatures of New York or London or wherever. You might think: "Whew, I was getting so sick of all of this insanity. Screw Art Basel!" Many locals looked at the roaming crowds, white tents, and fresh street art as if they had woken up in the Twilight Zone. Or worse yet, in Tales From the Crypt. Why should you care about Art Basel Miami Beach? Here are five reasons to care lest you scare the art fairs away next year.
1. See Work That Is Usually Stashed Away in International Galleries and Museums
On its own, Art Basel one
of the sole opportunities for viewers in the southern United States to
get up close and personal with the largest commercial galleries in the
world, displaying their newest and most significant offerings. The
oldest galleries (such as Landau and Acquavella) carry works from the
Masters: Klimt, Calder, Warhol, and Matisse. Where else can you see
these kinds of works? Not here (at least, not right now).
2. Power Networking
faces such as Adrien Brody, A-Rod, and Venus Williams seen in the
crowds (and not just at the Convention Center), the week of Art Basel
Miami Beach offers locals a chance to rub elbows with some of the
world's greenest green. It doesn't matter if your gig isn't art-related. Where else do you get to talk about your hip new restaurant idea or
strip club to someone with money to burn on modern art?
3. Public Art That Is Actually Good
you get a peek at the blue, licorice-like installation outside Art
Miami? The climbing sound-mound or the multicolored, crocheted
convertible outside Scope (pic above)? Or how about the hyper-fantasy of
FriendsWithYou's Rainbow City? That's just some of the fun and engaging outdoor art that
Art Basel Miami brought in its wake. They made us want to deface that
ridiculous Britto ball-and-palm-tree monstrosity outside Fifth Street and
4. Local Businesses Get Flooded with Cash
Local staples such as Joey's Wynwood, Gigi, and Sra. Martinez were packed with Basel visitors and all their discretionary spending. Plus, these venues still kept
their cool with chilled waitstaff and decent turnaround time. Obviously,
they knew the big money was here temporarily, but we were their patrons
too and they didn't forget that. Kudos.
5. An Education
The days of the never-ending, week-long partying seem to have toned down from the Art Basel juggernaut. Now, it's possible that Miamians could actually learn
something about the incredible works brought from the far corners of the
world by the hungry, determined galleries. And not just the visitors,
but our own galleries here put on their Sunday Best for all to admire.
It may seem all snotty from the outside with the VIP Audis, the
bubble-wrap bags and the velvet ropes, but the only thing stopping
locals from the Convention Center was a bag check and $36. If that was
too steep, all of the satellite fairs cost $10 and there was free admission at NADA and Littlest
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Sister. For that money, you could speak to a
consultant about a Picasso or a young curator about an up-and-coming
photographer or sculptor. Could you simply waltz
into Miami Art Museum director Thom Collins or Bonnie Clearwater's (MOCA) office and steal 15 minutes to talk art on a whim? Not unless you're with us.