Twenty years ago, Art Basel opened in Miami Beach. Our city has never been the same.
Art enthusiasts, tax refugees and luxury brands now know Miami as the center of universal sizzle. But back in the day — the early part of the 21st century, say — Miami’s reputation was more cultural dud than dope. Art Basel and the accompanying flurry of fairs, pop-up exhibitions (remember the carnival complete with Ferris wheel before midtown was Midtown?) became a magnet for locals and out-of-towners alike, who soon began scooping up real estate.
The rest, as they say, is history. Except this is history in the making, with ever-changing twists that spur us to pull on our comfiest sneakers, brave the traffic nightmares and indulge in the wonderland that has become Art Week Miami, live and — thank goodness — in person in 2022.
A RARE SIGHT: William Kentridge is one of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed contemporary artists, best known for his drawings and animated films. Miamians know his work from past shows at the private museum El Espacio 23 in Allapattah and Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design, and from past Art Week fairs. This December, Kentridge brings to Miami what is arguably his most ambitious work to date: an immersive performance marrying music, pageantry, dance and multimedia projections telling the story of Black porters and carriers who served British, French and German forces during the first world war. Previously presented only in Europe and New York, “The Head and the Load” will be staged Dec. 1-3 at the Adrienne Arsht Center on a massive, custom-built stage. Tickets, from $50, are limited and likely to go fast.
For a Kentridge deep dive, head to NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale for “Ursonate,” a dual-screen presentation based on Dada artist Kurt Schwitters’ 1932 sound poem consisting entirely of a nonsense, invented language. Screenings run every hour on the half hour from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. Thursdays through Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays.
And if you’re heading to LA this winter, The Broad’s “William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows” runs through April 9.
THE BIG FAIR TURNS 20: Art Basel’s Miami Beach fair isn’t resting on past success. Fresh off its initial (and buoyantly successful) Paris+ par Art Basel fair, organizers are putting on their largest Miami fair to date, with 283 premier galleries from 38 countries and territories, including Miami’s own David Castillo, Fredric Snitzer Gallery and Spinello Projects. (Check out Devan Shimoyama’s imagined monument to the year 2020, a forest-like installation incorporating shoes dangling from power wires, and a massive Zanele Muholi sculpture outdoors in Collins Park.) Among the free conversations with art luminaries is a retrospective on Art Basel’s Miami impact.
Like last year, this year the Miami Beach fair starts on Tuesday for VIPs. Invite-only preview days are Nov. 29-30, with public days Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 1-3. Sunday is again off the agenda.
Just across the road from Art Basel in the Miami Beach Convention Center, sister fair Design Miami/ opens to the public Nov. 30 and runs through Sunday Dec. 4. (Pro tip: Get your tickets to both fairs online.)
Around town, check out Art Basel’s first beach cleanup at 18th Street (Nov. 28), an artist talk with Typoe at The Underline (Dec. 1,) and Vizcaya’s commissioned exhibition of “Wish Towers,” by Puerto Rican twins Jaime and Javier Suárez Berrocal, from Dec. 1.
THE OTHER BIG FAIR: Back in its tent on Biscayne Bay, Art Miami is gearing up for an influx of foreign collectors, who will find blue chip and contemporary works from 155 international galleries — many in larger spaces this year. Sister fair Context marks its 10th anniversary with 75 galleries focused on more cutting-edge works. NFTs will be back, says fair director Nick Korniloff, often paired with physical artworks. He’s also seeing politically charged art from living artists and works by the late Christo, who once wrapped Miami in pink.
At Context, keep an eye out for Banksy’s “Dream Boat” sculpture of refugees, being offered by Ballon Rouge and Montreal’s S16 Gallery. A portion of the proceeds are promised to Choose Love, a humanitarian organization.
Last year’s breakout boy artist Andres Valencia, now 11, will partner with Chase Contemporary on a series of prints benefit the Klitschko Foundation in Ukraine; the fair also will serve as a launchpad for Kennedy’s Kids to benefit teen suicide prevention.
The fair opens to VIPs on Nov. 29, with public days Nov. 30 through Dec. 6.
After a COVID hiatus, sister fair Aqua returns to Miami Beach with a new director, again presenting works by emerging and mid-career artists.
PRIZM TURNS 10: Prizm Art Fair is a testament to passion and perseverance. In the decade since its launch by Miami’s Mikhaile Solomon, the fair has grown from a small warehouse exhibition space to downtown’s DuPont Building and now, to its own Design District tent. In 2022, Miami’s signature fair for work by Black artists will be fully hybrid, with in-person experiences in a tent on Miami Avenue at NE 42nd Street and at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, with real-time access via online for both buyers and participants of cultural programming. The theme, “Vernacular a la mode,” features 11 international galleries and 80 individual artists exploring unique ways in which African culture exists in different places. One experience that is truly IRL: Saturday night’s Gogo music celebration at the Little Haiti Cultural Center with DJ John Butler, husband of star artist Bisa Butler. Another first: Art buyers can pay in crypto.
MAN OF THIS MOMENT: The spotlight is tuned on Miami-based architect / designer / artist Germane Barnes — with good reason. An assistant professor of architecture at the University of Miami, Barnes was awarded the prestigious Rome Prize for Architecture in 2021 for his exploration between architecture and identity. This year’s milestones include a feature in Architectural Digest, a solo show at Miami’s Nina Johnson Gallery, and the 2022 Miami Design District Annual Neighborhood Commission. The winning concept, “Rock/Roll,” inspired by Carnival and honoring Miami’s BIPOC communities, includes whimsical, larger-than-life rocking seating capsules, chimes and an architectural-scale, free-floating dome that recalls a giant disco ball.
You can also find his work at Oolite Arts on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach in his installation “Rosie’s Kitchen,” honoring his grandmother and exploring the role the kitchen has played in the lives of Puerto Rican, Jamaican and Haitian families in Miami, through Dec. 11.
WHEN ART MET TECH: The $69 million NFT is likely a thing of the past, but the blockchain, digital art and artificial intelligence are only just starting to take hold in our lives.. Once again, art and technology tangle during this year’s Art Week.
▪ The annual FilmGate Interactive Media Festival is now in its ninth year, offering a glimpse into a future that moves faster than warp speed. If 2021 was the year of the NFT, 2022 is all about AI, whether its delivered on a massive projection, a VR headset or a planetarium dome. If those initials are gibberish, you’re in the right place; the festival is designed for the tech-curious, says Diliana Alexander, executive director of FilmGate Miami, an organization of visual storytellers. The program includes a wide array of interactive installations, panels and VR (that’s virtual reality) experiences, many influenced by AI (artificial intelligence.) Events are staged in various locations downtown and in Miami Beach. Highlights include dome installations inside the planetarium at the Frost Museum of Science on Dec. 2, a live performance beamed from Europe to Miami on Dec. 3 and a native American ceremony VR performance on Dec. 4. For a full program of free and ticketed experiences, see filmgate.miami/09.
▪ Mana Common and web3 platform nft now again are hosting an immersive NFT showcase that will stretch across 12 buildings and several blocks in downtown’s Flagler District. “The Gateway: a web3 metropolis,” will feature activations by Christie’s, Instagram, Nike and others in a free public exploration of art, music, gaming, tech and culture running Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, from noon to 9 p.m. daily.
▪ And yes, those ARE giant corals “growing” out of the Adrienne Arsht Center — or will be. From Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, the science-meets-art studio Coral Morphologic presents “Projections of a Coral City” on the outside of the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall. Organizers believe it will be the largest projection of corals ever presented globally. The idea, of course, is that without change, some day the performing arts center really will be under water.
The monumental work will be visible from 6 – 11:30 p.m. nightly. A soundtrack by Coral Morphologic and Nick León will be played in the courtyard near the Art Deco Sears tower.
BEAUTY ON THE BEACH: The annual Art Week program at the Faena Hotel (3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) rivals exhibitions at many larger venues (remember Raul de Nieves’ carousel in the Cathedral lobby?)
Digital art platform Aorist brings two new installations. “Living Room,” by art collective Random International, explores the concept of interior as a living thing in a giant enclosed space on the sand (through Dec. 4; tickets required.) Inside the hotel’s Project Room, Quayola presents “Effets de Soir” video series focused on nature and pictorial traditions (through Jan. 8).
Also on the sand, Miami’s own Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares have created “Patria y Vida,” as part of the city’s No Vacancy program. The 50-foot light sculpture, inspired by widespread protests in Cuba on the July 11, 2021, employs those all-too-familiar barricades used at protests worldwide.
And in the Cathedral lobby, check out the five-foot sculpture “Heart of Okeanos” by Sestie. Inspired by the heart of a 400-pound whale washed ashore in 2014, the “heart” will return to the sea as part of The ReefLine, the 7-mile underwater sculpture park and artificial reef off Miami Beach that is the brainchild of curator Ximena Caminos.
TAN DON’T BURN: The Coppertone Girl was one of America’s best recognized brand icons in a time when companies and country focused almost exclusively on the white middle class. The familiar 1950s “Coppertone Girl” billboard, now greeting visitors to Biscayne Boulevard, serves as inspiration for an exhibition recasting the ad campaign in modern, diverse terms. The nearby Green Space Miami, supported by the Green Family Foundation, chose 14 artists to create personal visions of a new Coppertone girl. Awardees were Lauren Baccus; Morel Doucet; Diana Eusebio; Lyzbeth Lara and Prem Lorenzen; Coralina Rodriguez Meyer; Nicolle Nyariri, Stefanie Paredes, and Daniella Silvera; Lauren Shapiro; Cornelius Tulloch; Arsimmer McCoy and Passion Ward; and Diego Waisman. Visitors can soak up the results through January 14, 2023, at the free group show Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 7200 Biscayne Blvd.
IN THE DISTRICT: The Miami Design District will once again be bubbling with temporary exhibits — many of them free. Along with Germane Barnes’ “Rock | Roll” commission and the Prizm Art Fair, check out these:
▪ For the sixth year, mega-gallery Gagosian and uber curator Jeffrey Deitch join forces to present “100 Years,” a group show. This year, it moves from the Moore Building to the historic Buick Building on NE Second Avenue near 39th Street.
▪ Saatchi Yates presents a temporary showing of new work by Ethiopian contemporary artist Tesfaye Urgessa, whose work also will be showcased at the Rubell Museum.
▪ THE OFFICE. Gallery and F2T Gallery present the oh-so-aptly named “I DONT NEED IT, BUT I WANT IT,” a group exhibition focusing on the global culture of mass production and kitsch.
▪ Curator Zoe Lukov, formerly of Faena Art, joins with Abby Pucker to present “Boil, Toil + Trouble,” featuring works by 20 artists focusing on water.
▪ District developer Craig Robins again opens his offices, this year with “Two of The Same Kind,” a show highlighting the work of Marlene Dumas and Jana Euler. The theme of dualism runs throughout the presentation, which coincidentally includes portraits by Andy Warhol commissioned decades ago by Robin’s mother and the mother of his wife Jackie Soffer, who met years later.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: Perhaps no city better understands the value of culture than Miami Beach. During Art Week, that translates into “No Vacancy, Miami Beach,” which brings temporary art installations to local hotels through a juried art competition. This year, 12 artists are creating site-specific works at a dozen hotels, thanks to stipends of $10,000 per artist, with another $35,000 in prizes. Members of the public can vote on their own choice at mbartsandculture.org. The program is a collaboration of various Beach agencies and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Works are on view in hotel public spaces through Dec. 8.
The artists featured are Miami’s Maritza Caneca (Riviera Suites South Beach, 318 20th Street); Beatriz Chachamovits (Esme Miami Beach, 1438 Washington Avenue); Brookhart Jonquil (Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club, 3925 Collins Avenue); Justin Long (International Inn on the Bay, 2301 Normandy Drive); Claudio Marcotulli (Hotel Croydon, 3720 Collins Avenue); Jessy Nite (Avalon Hotel, 700 Ocean Drive); Charo Oquet (Catalina Hotel and Beach Club, 1732 Collins Avenue); Magnus Sodamin (Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Avenue); Michelle Weinberg (Royal Palm South Beach, 1545 Collins Avenue), and Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares (Faena Hotel Miami Beach, 3201 Collins Avenue). Also participating are Sri Prabha of Hollywood (The Betsy Hotel, 1400 Ocean Drive), and Copenhagen’s Esben Weile Kjær, presented by Miami’s Bas Fisher Invitational (The Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Avenue).
OPA-LOCKA: Far too few visitors — or locals, for that matter — even know this historic city of 16,000 even exists. “The Art of Transformation,” a collaboration between the city and the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation, will give them a reason to visit. The five-day celebration includes three exhibitions, conversations with artists and experts, concerts, pop-up events and a grande finale parade.
“This Here Place: Africa and the Global Diaspora,” inspired by a quote from Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved,” brings together works by six international artists from OLCDC’s collection. “A Beautiful Human Love,” based on a 1957 letter to humankind by Haiti’s Jacques Stephen Alexis, showcases Haitian art history. “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born,” a play on the title of Ayi Kwei Armah’s novel, features an array of international, emerging, and mid-career artists.
The festival takes place in three nearby spaces: the Historic Opa-locka Train Station (480 Ali Baba Avenue), and the Hurt Building (490 Ali Baba Avenue) and the ARC (675 Ali Baba Avenue.) artinopalocka.org.
Take advantage of the moment to check out the town’s unexpected and spectacular architecture. As the street name indicates, the Moorish buildings look like a set for a fable.
OUR ARTFUL PAST: For two decades, Wynwood’s nonprofit Center of Visual Design has presented artful, thought-provoking exhibitions — though sometimes below the radar. This year’s group show, “The Miami Creative Movement,” curated by Miami photographer and center director Barry Fellman, encompasses works by 15 Miami artists key to the city’s trajectory, including Carlos Betancourt, Edouard Duval-Carrie, Mira Lehr, Karen Rifas and Asser Sain-Val. The show will also launch Fellman’s new coffee table book, “Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation” by Letter16 Press. “The combination of this spectacular grouping of artists in the ‘Miami Creative Movement’ exhibition … is the coveted ‘insider’ experience that visitors who flock to Art Basel Miami Beach love,” said Alberto Ibargüen, who wrote the forward to the book. He should know; as president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, Ibargüen is the city’s ultimate inside man.
ART AND SOUND: Fans of German techno band Brandt Brauer Frick are in for a treat. Robot Heart Foundation presents “Multi Faith Prayer Room,” an audiovisual installation by Brandt Brauer Frick Art that incorporates 120 voices from around the world talking about faith, rituals and the future. From Dec. 1-3, 30-minute shows occur at 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Nightly parties include 360-sound with music by Brandt Brauer Frick (Dec. 1) and AMÉMÉ (Dec. 2.) At The Annex Miami, 78 NW 37th St. Purchase tickets at link.dice.fm/BBFRobotHeart.
PARTNERS IN TASTE: Snagging a seat during Art Week at a top restaurant requires deep personal connections and a relentless scheduling assistant.
▪ American Express and Resy have teamed up with a solution: a series of dinners with Michelin-starred chefs Massimo Bottura, Missy Robbins, and Mashama Bailey in a Design District pop-up space created by artist Phillip K. Smith III; tickets cost $350 each and are available to high-level Amex cardholders enrolled in Resy’s Global Dining Access program. Enrollees also have access to events at Joe’s Stone Crab, COTE Miami and Mandolin.
For those without fat wallets, Smith’s “Garden of Reflections” installation will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 30, with food and drinks by Michael Solomonov. Reservations are available to all Resy users. Entry, food and drinks are complimentary.
▪ For those who prefer a side of tech with their meal, Superblue, the interactive art space in Allapattah, and Meta Open Arts presented Aerobanquets RMX by Mattia Casalegno Nov. 28 to Dec. 4. Groups of up to 16 guests step into a dining room of the future designed by Casalegno and don Meta Quest 2 VR headsets that will transport them on a journey “with” chef Gail Simmons into a new dimension. Tickets range from $58 (daytime) to $200 (evening) per person. The menu features amuse bouches — yes, actual food — created by James Beard Award-winning chef Chintan Pandya.
Book the experience and get 10% off your ticket to Superblue. A new immersive installation by renowned Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer activated by participants’ biometric data, “Pulse Topology,” joins existing installations by Es Devlin, teamLab and James Turrell.
AGAINST THE WALLS: Wynwood Walls celebrates its 12th anniversary with 10 new murals by global artists Bicicleta Sem Freio (Brazil), DULK (Spain), Jessie & Katey (U.S.), Drik The Villain (Berlin), Lelin Alves (Brazil), Shok1 (U.K.), Mikael Brandrup (Denmark) and Millo (Italy), along with Shepard Fairey’s (U.S.) newest mural commemorating Wynwood Walls’ late founder, Tony Goldman. The indoor Goldman Global Arts Annex Gallery will host a solo show by American artist Hebru Brantley. This year’s theme is the Future Starts Now. Amen to that.