Miami 2016 | A quick run down of the state of affairs
Nearly 73,000 visitors and professionals flock to Miami this week to discover work by 4,000 artists from 29 countries, spread across the 21 faires that run from November 29 through December 4.
Art Basel’s 15th edition opens in a charged political landscape. The election of Donald Trump ruffled the feathers of the art market (despite having no effect on the November sales in New York), while the death of Fidel Castro and the joyous atmosphere it instilled in Miami’s Cuban community brought hope. Florida and all the fun it represents has real pulling power for the art world, and the latest thing this year seems to be the desire to capitalize on the contemporary art ecosystem beyond Miami art week. Whilst the Wynwood district in the west of Miami is regaining importance and remains a temple of street art, with its hundreds of walls, galleries and other outlets, the city’s museum offerings will also be developing apace in the next few weeks.
At Miami Beach, the Bass Museum will reopen its doors in spring 2017 after more than $12 million worth of renovation work. The gallery will occupy over 16,150 square feet to house its collection of sculptures, tapestries and artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries. A monumental work by Ugo Rondinone takes center stage in front of the museum, one of a dozen other sculptures that form part of Art Basel’s broader Miami program. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Science Museum is also undergoing a renovation project for next spring, although not without a degree of controversy, which arose due questions over the philanthropist couple’s ability to influence nominations to the board. In Miami Beach, the seafront hotels are also competing for a permanent place in the city’s ever-expanding art scene.
One of the most impressive sights this year is the new layout of the Faena district. The $1 million dollar project, headed by the Argentine billionaire Alan Faena, comprises a contemporary art center, a complex of luxury apartments designed by Rem Koolhass, a marina, a shopping mall, a five-star Hotel, and Faena Bazaar — a high-concept retail and exhibition space. Among the art on display in the district were brightly coloured sculptures by Jeff Koons and a golden mammoth-like skeleton encased in a vitrine by Damien Hirst overlooking the beach.
Jillian Mayer ©Christopher Jean-Jacques Courtesy David Castillo Gallery, Laurence Dreyfus Art Consulting
It remains to be seen whether the dynamism of Miami art week will enliven the local market long-term. Christie’s and Sotheby’s seem unlikely to offer sales in Florida anytime soon. The big challenge will be to sustain the December art market buzz all year round. This year is a detour for the roving exhibition Chambres à Part, which is putting on its first exhibition in the US: “Life is beautiful.” The exhibition will take place in an art deco building at 2228 Park Avenue, right next to the site of Art Basel and the future Bass Museum (visits are by appointment only, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). Laurence Dreyfus presents around 40 works of art and design in partnership with The Invisible Collection. Among the international and Miami-based artists included are Ugo Rondinone, Olafur Eliasson, Hernan Bas, Jillian Mayer and Cristina Lei Rodriguez. The selection of works will be exhibited across five floors in an art deco building that boasts one of the most beautiful rooftops in Miami, which will play host to collectors every evening from November 29 through December 4. The works on sale range from $1,600 to $250,000.