At the center of what now is commonly referred to as Miami Art Week, is Art Basel Miami Beach, held annually at the Miami Beach Convention Center. During the 14th edition, 267 galleries from 32 countries exhibited and sold works from world renowned artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frank Stella, Yinka Shonibare, Kehinde Wiley, Anish Kapoor and Wangechi Mutu. The fair, spearheaded by Art Basel’s newly appointed Director Americas Noah Horowitz, was attended by 77,000 visitors over five days, including major private collectors as well as directors, curators, trustees and patrons of nearly 200 museum and institution groups. Collectors from over 110 countries attended the show, with first-time collectors coming from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Romania, Togo and Zimbabwe.
The most engaging section at Art Basel Miami Beach tends to be the Positions sector, which allows curators, critics, and collectors to discover ambitious new talents from across the globe, by providing a platform for a single artist to present one major project.
Among the 16 exhibitors in Positions, 12 were first-time participants in the sector. Artists included Dan Bayles at François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles), Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz at Marcelle Alix (Paris), Vittorio Brodmann at Galerie Gregor Staiger (Zurich), Henning Fehr and Philipp Rühr at Galerie Max Mayer (Dusseldorf), GCC at Project Native Informant (London), Jiieh G Hur at One and J. Gallery (Seoul), Fritzia Irizar at Arredondo \ Arozarena (Mexico City), Daniel Keller at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), Andrei Koschmieder at Real Fine Art (New York), Jaromír Novotný at hunt kastner (Prague), Sean Paul at Thomas Duncan Gallery (Los Angeles), Romy Pocztaruk at SIM Galeria (Curitiba), B. Ingrid Olson at Simone Subal Gallery (New York), Villa Design Group at Mathew Gallery (Berlin, New York), Thomas Wachholz at RaebervonStenglin (Zurich) and He Xiangyu at White Space Beijing (Beijing).
Sales highlights in 2015 included a Francis Bacon oil on canvas, “Man in Blue,” from 1954, with an asking price of $15 million by Van de Weghe Fine Art, and Picasso’s “Buste au Chapeau” oil from 1971, with an asking price of $10.5 million, from the same gallery. Mazzoleni, a gallery in Turin and London, reported the sale of three works by Alberto Burri from the 1960s, including a “Plastica” which sold for $2 million.
Surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach is a number of satellite fairs in Miami Beach as well as Miami’s Midtown. Most prominently, the modern and contemporary art fair Art Miami, which has been a prime Miami art fair since its inception 26 years ago. As every year at Art Miami, 120 galleries presented works of the highest quality to international collectors. As the No. 1 ranked international art fair for attendance in the U.S. and second most attended globally, Art Miami attracted more than 85,000 new and established collectors, curators, museum professionals, press, art world luminaries and art enthusiasts to its 200,000-square-foot pavilions.
Art Miami sister fair CONTEXT was an absolute must-see this year. Featuring 95 international galleries and projects from 20 countries and 53 cities, CONTEXT presented promising cutting-edge, mid-career and established artists. Especially impressive and one of the most noteworthy stand-outs of Miami Art Week 2015, was the art presented by the Galleries Association of Korea, which included, amongst others, Nine Gallery and artists Lee Lee Nam and Son Bong Chae.
Another highlight of Art Week was the 2015 edition of UNTITLED., held in the fair’s fuchsia tent right on the sand of Miami Beach at Ocean Drive and flooded with natural light, boasting views of the ocean. UNTITLED. creates a distinct fair experience as it is expertly curated to offer a presentation unlike any other fair.
Founded by Jeff Lawson in New York in partnership with Alan G. Randolph in Miami, UNTITLED. welcomed back its curatorial team, led by Artistic Director Omar López-Chahoud, with curators Christophe Boutin and Melanie Scarciglia, co-founders of the distinguished publishing houses “onestar press” and “Three Star Books” in Paris.
Galleries that stood out were Taymour Grahne Gallery from New York, presenting works by Hassan Hajjaj, two galleries from Stuttgart, Germany: Thomas Fuchs and Michael Sturm, Luis de Jesus from Los Angeles, presenting paintings by Edith Beaucage, and Galerie Ron Mandos presenting the latest works by three international acclaimed artists: Isaac Julien, Krisstof Kintera and Inti Hernandez.
Other fairs on the beach were SCOPE Miami Beach, with a focus on emerging and mid-career contemporary and Miami Beach PULSE, where the Vietnamese multi-disciplinary artists, writer and curator Trong Gia Nguyen won the PULSE Prize.
NADA, a fair that to many collectors and art enthusiasts is a must-see, was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel this year. NADA is presented by the New Art Dealers Alliance, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the cultivation, support, and advancement of new voices in contemporary at. For the 2015 edition, 87 galleries, art spaces and organizations, including Miami’s own Guccivuitton and Locust Projects as well as LA-based gallery Moran Bondaroff, which presented works by artists like Jacolby Satterwhite, Michael Genovese, Lucien Smith and Eric Mack, amongst others.
Besides the fairs, Miami Art Week offers a calendar packed with special exhibition like “Unrealism,” a collaboration between Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian at the Moore Building, gallery exhibitions, special installations, performances, and projects, public art, breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners and parties, parties and more parties. Whether Solange Knowles spinning at Fendi, the Urban Bush Babes celebrating with Bombay Sapphire, or Dev Hynes and Ryan McNamara presenting their latest project “Dimensions” at the Perez Art Museum Miami, there was no shortage of fun and stories to be told.
Also in town was rapper and producer Swizz Beatz, an avid art collector himself, who brought the No Commission Art Fair to Wynwood. The Dean Collection in collaboration with BACARDI presented an art fair . featuring artists like HoxxoH, Michael Vasquez, KAWS, Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas, Sue Tsai, Timothy Buwalda, SWOON, Shepard Fairey, Tomokazu Matsuyama, and a concert series featuring Alicia Keys, Pusha T, DMX and Whiz Khalifa.
What was different about Swizz Beatz approach? It was quite significant actually. There was no fee to exhibit at his fair and no commission was taken from the artists‘ sales. Additionally, the fair supported The Heliotrop Foundation, started by artist Swoon as a way to support and extend the values and vision of her long-term community-based projects , such as the core projects in Haiti as well as Pennsylvania and Louisiana in the US.
The most interesting project of the week was presented by Anthony Spinello of Spinello Projects - the Littlest Sister Art Fair. The gallery, which showed for the first time in the new space in Little Haiti, also simultaneously celebrated its 10th anniversary with the exhibition “Full Moon,” featuring artists Agustina Woodgate, Antonia Wright, Aramis Gutierrez, Farley Aguilar, Kris Knight, Manny Prieres, Naama Tsabar, Santiago Rubino, Sinisa Kukec, Typoe and special live performance by Psychic Youth Inc. and Franky Cruz.
Curated by Sofia Bastidas, the Littlest Sister Art Fair was a “faux” invitational art fair, commenting on the art fair as an entity that activated Miami’s contemporary arts scene. The fair, set up as a traditional fair space with 10 small white-walled booth featured works by Miami based female artists who work in painting, sculpture, design, installation, and new media. A project sector focused on video, sound, performance, and happenings.
Running concurrently, Platform, a symposium bringing together Miami’s most influential women in the arts, invited panelists to engage in conversations and debate regarding current macro and local issues, from challenges in the field, the future of art fairs, real estate development and the arts, to gender and race inequality in the market. Programmed throughout Miami Art Week, Platform will create informal opportunities of exchange for real critical discourse.