Here Is the Ultimate Recap of This Year’s Miami Art Week
Art Basel Miami Beach is about the get-togethers as much as the fairs. Read Galerie’s detailed update on what happened where with who
Few affairs in the global art calendar compete with Art Basel Miami Beach, when the entire city suddenly brims with art fairs, performances, activations, dinners, talks, and parties. Such was the case for yet another Miami art week, with the new 277-exhibitor edition of ABMB landing the Convention Center.
The fair’s VIP preview on Wednesday officiated the wave of social events concentrated in South Beach, Design District, and Wynwood. Across the booths, international galleries, featuring 24 newcomers, showed off work by global art stars as well as discoveries, ranging from intimate scale delicate pieces to 19 monumental scale statements at the fair’s Meridians section.
Satellite fairs such as Untitled Art, NADA, Scope and Design Miami/, opened shops a day earlier to attract the collectors and art enthusiasts in town prior; while institutions including the ICA Miami, Rubell Museum, and Perez Art Museum unveiled new shows as early as Monday.
With a dose of sweet competition and the week evolving into a social extravaganza beyond the art world, organizers had to push their creativity to new heights to stand out. Sky was indeed the territory for Delta Air Lines to explore. The airline flew one of its planes to Miami to bring an invite-only group of guests. En route to its destination, the jet was decorated with projections across its headboards with art by Jillian Mayer, Olivia Pedigo, Derek Abella, Emmett Moore, and Elliot & Erick Jiménez.
On the ground, the airline extended the aerial exhibition to a gallery show with works the same artists, created using aircraft iconography and rituals of traveling. Creative Director of UTA Fine Arts Arthur Lewis, who curated the selection, was among the passengers on board and told Galerie: “The sky, metaphorically speaking, symbolizes the limitless possibilities and influence that Art Basel has brought to the Miami art scene, making it a dynamic hub for artistic expression and cultural innovation.”
Lewis thinks the projects with unexpected collaborators and modes of public access broadens the art viewer profile and “not only democratizes the artistic experience but also serves as a catalyst, sparking interest and potentially drawing individuals into the broader cultural events, such as art fairs and year-round museum exhibitions.” For Miami native Abella, who uses cues from graphic design and abstraction to convey his Cuban-American queer experience, exhibiting in his hometown and in the sky brings his work’s visibility to uncharted level, and fittingly, the painting he has created plays with his memories of growing up in suburban Miami.
A plane might sound as an unexpected territory to exhibit art, but lounges have long been an essential part of the art fair experience. This year’s UBS Lounge inside the fair hosted a group exhibition, titled “Just When You Least Expect It,” with works selected from the global bank’s collection. The star of the presentation is the titular work by Jeffrey Gibson, a three-panel joyous brightly-colored abstraction that the bank originally commissioned for the UBS Arena stadium. At the lounge, Gibson’s triptych sits among works by Nick Cave, Deana Lawson, and Awol Erizku.
Up at the Collectors Lounge, tequila maker Casa Dragones continued its tradition of blending its signature reposado with contemporary art at its 200-square-foot tasting room, designed this year by Gloria Cortina Studio, including a chandelier crafted with naturally formed shards of obsidian. Crowds huddled at the tasting room in late afternoon for the Art-tender sessions for which an artist created a custom-made tequila drink. After Wednesday’s cocktail hour with painter Ilana Savdie, performance artist Miles Greenberg took the reign behind the bar on Friday.
While the fair was packed with collectors and art advisors roaming the aisles on the VIP day, Louis Vuitton unveiled its collaboration with Frank Gehry at the entrance, featuring ten purses designed by the famed architect as well as his sketches for the house’s Seoul boutique. Art-world favorite Positano hotel Le Sirenuse brought the Neapolitan charm to Miami Tuesday evening with a dinner co-hosted by Gagosian. In tune with the hotel’s blue-hued Franco’s bar, the soiree at The Broken Shaker echoed the bar’s famous Amalfi coast view with music by Arman Nafée. White Cube continued its tradition of a sandy celebration with a dinner and concert at Soho House, this year with a musical performance by Ezra Collective. Among the week’s fixtures, Faena Hotel unveiled this year’s programming with a bash, with the partygoers searching their ways through Sebastian Errazuriz’s aptly titled beach massive installation, MAZE: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self.
Wednesday evening’s itinerary was the most challenging for those committed to beat the infamous Miami traffic. Early birds attended SCAD Museum of Art’s breakfast at Layla Miami Beach for an update on the museum’s upcoming programing. In attendance were artist Awol Erizku and famed editor Stefano Tonchi who will curate the museum’s upcoming group show GENDERQUAKE: Liberation, Appropriation, Rejection. Another classical ritual, Serpentine Galleries’s breakfast was again at Casa Tua with the museum’s CEO Bettina Korek and creative director Hans Ulrich Obrist playing the hosts.
Molteni&C’s flagship store in the Design District hosted Meditations on Mural Art, an exhibition that featured a live mural painting performance by Roberto Ruspoli. The same neighborhood was also home to Cartier’s new installation Time Unlimited making its North American debut. The tunnel-like structure absorbed visitors into the trajectory of the brand’s watch-making history. Those roaming the district rested on twelve new benches created by British design star Samuel Ross; the collection that features three different models was unveiled at the inaugural Design Miami/ Paris last October. Art Basel’s Swiss root echoed in the day-long poolside symposium, La Salon Suisse, at Esmé Miami Beach Hotel. The speakers such as curator Larry Ossei-Mensah, designer Ini Archibong, and artist Serge Attukwei discussed the current state of art destinations and the global networks built through grand art affairs.
Maestro Dobel extended its presence from a Design Miami/ booth decorated with new furniture by Mexican designers Marissa Naval and Javier Reyes to the beach. The tequila maker partnered with The Cultivist for a breezy lunch at the W Hotel with napkins designed by artist Patrick Martinez. The Cultivist also joined forces with CapitalOne for a dinner by star west coast chef Dominique Crenn. The toast of the night was for Snow Beach Frozen Treats, Alex Isreal’s frozen yogurt installation with flavors in collaboration with Crenn and José Andrés who created Thursday’s dinner. Diplo, China Chow, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Miguel dined with Crenn’s seafood-centric courses and topped off the evening with frozen treats that also paid homage to the frozen yogurt shop that Isreal’s parents ran in Los Angeles during his teenage years.
Mickalene Thomas raised the heat with a Janelle Monae concert at the Edition Hotel with Insecure actress Yvonne Orji and New Museum deputy director Isolde Brielmaier in attendance. Wednesday’s competitive schedule did not only include bacchanal bashes—Japanese wrestling and art overlapped at Lot 11 Skatepark. Over 2,000 attendees circled around the rink to watch the Japanese women’s professional wrestling league, Sukeban. The art crowd cheering for the nail-biter face-off was also there to view the championship belt conceived by the famed designer Marc Newson, fashion makeup star Isamaya Ffrench’s work on the wrestlers’ faces, and costumes crafted by fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan. The Espanola Way is this year decorated with public art by the Brazilian collective assume vivid astro focus, titled Adora Vanessa Athena Fantasia, featuring five suspended figures that honor Miami’s own drag queens. The ever-lively block reached its peak with Swiss Institute and Performance Space’s trippy party at Kill Your Idol.
Thursday did not show any sing of slowing down. Boutique art advisory firm Rococo celebrated five artists showing at the main fair, including Devin B. Johnson, Gisela McDaniel, and Veronica Fernandez, with special cocktails dedicated to each of the five artists in collaboration with Marni. The Bass Museum hosted a dinner to celebrate art-world favorite perfume maker Frederic Malle’s new scent, Heaven Can Wait, with the museum director Silvia Karman Cubiñá and designer Olivia Stutz in attendance.
Outside the museum, Audemars Piguet exhibited its annual art project, this year Brazilian artist Sallisa Rosa earth-toned immersive installation, Topography of Memory, with mysterious clay objects on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. Young Collectors Party took over the basement at the Edition Hotel with guests bowling. Earlier in the evening, Lehmann Maupin had toasted Isabella Icoz and Fionna Flaherty becoming gallery partners with an intimate gathering at the hotel’s lobby bar.
Friday’s sunny weather allowed for visitors at Untitled Art enjoy the beachside VIP lounge, where Resy invited celebrity chef Stephanie Izard for fair energy fuel. Another bank to join the week’s frenzy was Chase, with a lounge built on Loews Hotel’s beach, featuring a wind-blown sensory installation by Daniel Wurtzel for the new Range Rover and late night concert by Miguel. Sunday’s high temperature finalized the art week, leading the airport conversations about the week’s recaps and Hauser & Wirth’s $20 million sale of a Philip Guston painting.