Art Basel Miami Beach Beckons
by sue hostetler
Mary Mary gallery, in Glasgow, Scotland
|Robert Rauschenberg’s Story Brake (Urban Bourbon), 199|
It has been a good year—actually, a very good year—for the folks behind the prestigious Art Basel contemporary art shows. This summer record numbers flocked to the flagship Art Basel in Switzerland. The company then purchased the Hong Kong International Art Fair—the leading show in Asia—giving them critical leverage in the world’s most rapidly expanding marketplace. And this December, Art Basel Miami Beach—sister event to the Swiss behemoth—will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
After launching in 2002, ABMB quickly established itself as the most significant art show in the Americas. Dealers, collectors, curators, and art enthusiasts of every type from all over the world descend en masse on Miami Beach for the extravaganza, which has grown to include an international selection of more than 250 galleries, cutting-edge exhibitions, and performances featuring music, film, architecture, and design. The show has also helped transform Miami into a leading cultural capital that boasts some of the world’s most ambitious private collections. This, coupled with its tropical climate and its location at the social and economic nexus of North America and Latin America, make the city a perfect backdrop for the show and help draw an elite global audience.
West Chester resident Beau Ott has been collecting art primarily from the 1960s for seven years and is a member of both the Associates and Young Friends groups at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He regularly goes to Miami and has attended ABMB, noting that the stellar offerings are innumerable. “This sounds obvious, but there is so much going on artwise in Miami during the fair, it would be easy to spend the week never having made it to the actual Convention Center,” Ott laughs. He insists that even if the work at the main show is outside of your budget, it is not to be missed. “It is always interesting to see what the most influential galleries in the world have brought to the fair,” says Ott. His other recommendation is the exceptional annual panel discussions and tours of Miami collector’s homes and private collections. “The Margulies Collection houses great art from the latter half of the 20th century,” offers Ott, referring to prominent collector Martin Margulies’ spectacular collection, located in Miami’s Wynwood arts district.
Though details for this special 10th anniversary celebration remain a closely guarded secret, we were able to sit down with show codirectors Marc Spiegler and Annette Schönholzer to glean a little insider information. artbaselmiamibeach.com
Art Basel Miami Beach has become one of the most important events in the US for the contemporary art world. To what do you attribute this success?
ANNETTE SCHÖNHOLZER: There are many reasons, although the foundation of the success has been the galleries that return every year and bring fantastic pieces. Many also mount carefully curated exhibitions for Art Kabinett in their booths and participate in additional sectors such as Art Public outdoors. The programming of Art Basel Conversations and the Art Film night also make the week rich in content and ideas. Equally important are the city of Miami Beach—which has always been supportive—and Miami’s private collections and remarkable museums, which enrich the experience by staging superb exhibitions every December. Seeing the cultural scene blossom in the Miami area over the past decade has been really rewarding, and we’re proud to have been part of that renaissance.