The 10th annual Art Basel Miami is about more than fine art. It’s bringing 260 exhibitors to Miami this week to show a wide variety of design, architecture, performance art, sound installations and video art to the annual fair. For me, there's much to read about the diverse artists and their contemporary works being shown, and for some in Miami, the arts are secondary to the social events of the week. The Miami event has grown into one of the most prestigious art shows in North America since it started as an outpost of the eponymous fair that began in Basel, Switzerland in 1970. Exhibitors from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and North America will show the work of more than 2000 artists. The focus of the event is contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries. International art dealers, collectors, curators, critics and art lovers will converge on Miami for the week to see a broad range of works. The art starts upon arrival. Christopher Janney’s sound installation, “Harmonic Convergence” is at the Miami International Airport.
Janney calls this permanent installation, “painting with sound”, merging music and architecture in this interactive sound and light installation. There are sounds of tropical birds and thunderstorms as visitors walk through.
The Miami Beach Convention Center houses the main event. A committee of 12 international gallerists select 25 new galleries each year to add to the assortment of blue chip and emerging artists.
Art Public, in Collins Park is a collaboration beween dealers and the Bass Museum in the outdoor exhibition space. There are large-scale works by Damien Hirst and Robert Indiana among others.
The amazing roses in “Desublimation of the Rose”, by New York sculptor Will Ryman are featured at Fairchid Tropical Gardens.
On the beach, a pig by Zhang Huan’s “49 Days No.1”, is inspired by the story of a pig that survived for 49 days in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
There are more pigs in Miru KIm’s installation, “The Pig Therefore I Am”. Kim has earned acclaim by appearing nude in unusal places. She will live with the animals for 104 hours, to “feel my existence more than ever”.
Pae White’s “Pop Storm” is a photo-rendering of burned popcorn kernels suspended from a ceiling.
At the Frank Gehry designed New World Center, a 7,000 sq.ft. outdoor projection wall will feature art films each night at Soundscape Park. There will also be a 20‘x20’ platform that will be levitated by hundreds of volunteers for the duration of the Fair.
The Miami art scene has brought a number of significant collectors to the city, including the Rubell and de la Cruz Collections. The city and local governments are increasing their funding for the arts, evidenced by the new addition to the Miami Art Musem.
The Rubell Family Collection is presenting “American Exuberance” this week with 200 works by 64 blue chip artists. Jennifer Rubell will host a daily performance piece - she will make yogurt each day, and eat it along with visitors.
“Graffiti Gone Global”, will be all over the Wynwood Arts District. 110 international dealers are featuring murals by graffiti artists.
Architect David Adjaye, the “2011 Designer of the Year” was commisisoned to create a piece for Design Miami. He calls “Genesis” a glorified gazebo, “archi-furniture” , a sculpture that displays the traits of architecture while merging it with art and digital technology.
Occupy Art Basel - The Occupy Movement has joined the fair. The protesters make the point that the 99% can’t afford entry fees to the week’s events, much less the art.
There is a lot to see and experience in Miami this week, and there's a lot to learn about art, design and the merging of the two. Ten years later and Art Basel Miami has grown into an international event including contemporary art in many forms - reflecting current trends in design, architecture, technology and politics.