Everything to Do in Miami During Art Basel

1:00 PM 11/27/2017

by Rebecca Kleinman

A guide to the best food, relaxation and yes, more art.

Art Basel Miami Beach Vernissage December 1, 2016 - Getty -H 2016
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for art lovers). Miami’s billionaire-bound art week, commences Dec. 4, and has grown way beyond Art Basel Miami Beach to include satellite fairs Design Miami/, NADA and Untitled. Here’s a brief guide to making the most of your time there. 

  • Bigger, Better Basel

    Anyone who has navigated the main fair’s crushing crowds will appreciate a renovated venue with roomier booths and aisles this year. Among 268 galleries, 20 make their Miami edition debut. Survey, a sector of the fair that focuses on pre-millennium art, will be loaded with works of political commentary such as Edgardo Antonio Vigo’s firsthand account of the "Dirty War" in Argentina. Independent curator and critic Philipp Kaiser takes on the fair's Public sector in Collins Park, with site-specific sculptures and performances such as Jim Shaw’s rock opera, while David Gryn, director of Daata Editions and Artprojx, returns to curate the Film sector. Director Sara Driver will discuss her documentary Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat after its screening on December 8. 

    1901 Convention Center Drive; artbasel.com

  • Contemporary Clique

    Miami worships contemporary art as much as its mojitos. Joining Pérez Art Museum Miami, two art museums for the genre opened back-to-back in fall.

    The Bass revamped its name and direction as part of the Sixties-era institution’s $12 million makeover. Inaugural exhibitions are “good evening beautiful blue” by Ugo Rondinone, whose Miami Mountain boulder sculpture was acquired through a new contemporary art initiative, as well as “Beautiful,” Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou’s riot of materials from Arabic pots to LED lights. Premiering during Basel, Mika Rottenberg’s self-titled solo show includes works from Skulptur Projekte Münster in June and the 2015 Venice Biennale.

    2100 Collins Avenue; (305) 673-7530; thebass.org.

    The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami bolsters the Miami Design District’s thriving cultural scene. After operating in a temporary location around the corner, the three-year-old museum moved into a 37,500-square-foot building and sculpture garden opening Dec. 1, funded by local art collectors Irma and Norman Braman. Director Ellen Salpeter, formerly with the Jewish Museum in New York, oversees the institution, placing greater emphasis on monographic exhibitions and boundary-pushing commissions. But first, it’s trying something new:  a thematic group survey.

    “The Everywhere Studio” reveals the creative process by studying artists’ work settings. One hundred works by half as many artists (Yves Klein, Andrea Zittel, Bruce Nauman, Pablo Picasso) span post-war to the digital age. Mark Handforth’s pink telephone pole twisted into a star and solo painting shows by Chris Ofili and Tomm El-Saieh also christen the space.

    61 NE 41st Street; (305) 901-5272; icamiami.org.

  • No Boys Allowed

    Talk about impeccable timing. As women rise up from Hollywood to the Heartland, an all-female art fair debuts from Dec. 7 to 10. Zoe Lukov, director of exhibitions for Faena Art, and Anthony Spinello, founder of the namesake gallery in Miami, conceived Fair in response to the patriarchal art world. More than 50 radical artists, including Yoko Ono, Liza Cowan and the Guerrilla Girls, will display--but not sell--site-specific works throughout Brickell City Centre. The immersive experience in the open-air mall also live-streams a silent disco and screens works from the Femmes’ Video Art Festival at CMX’s first U.S. cinema.

    701 South Miami Avenue; fairmarket.com    

  • Eastbound & Down

    Shuttered Melrose mainstay Tenoversix traded one sunny city for another. Owners Kristen Lee Cole and Joe Cole relocated their lifestyle showroom from Los Angeles to Miami’s Little River, an emerging neighborhood on the mainland. But before they fill up their new digs with Waka Waka wood furniture, Robert Clergerie raffia mules and Jacques Marie Mage sunglasses, they’re making the most of the clean white gallery with a proper exhibition. Paintings by Andrew Kuo are on view from Dec. 4 to 10, through an initiative with Marlborough Contemporary in London and New York.

    7338 NW Miami Court; (786) 615-4700; tenoversix.com 


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  • Healthy Habitat

    Despite last year’s buzz, Tom Colicchio’s Beachcraft is out at 1 Hotel & Homes. Some partners in the Pubbelly homegrown restaurant group launched Habitat in its place. Chef de cuisine Ángel Palacios comes from Madrid’s Michelin-starred La Broche (he also helmed its short-lived Miami outpost). The menu does a complete 180 from his background in molecular gastronomy with health-conscious cooking techniques, whether wood-grilled fish or custom salad toppings selected from the cute “live green” cart. Diners don’t get off that easy though. Spanish pastry chef Patricio Larrea’s desserts like Japanese apple pie derail diets in the end.

    2341 Collins Avenue; (305) 604-6700; habitatmb.com 

  • Art Antidote

    The Sacred Space Miami, a full-service wellness retreat in the heart of Wynwood, is the perfect, post-art week wind down. Overlooking the chic Zen courtyard, Plant Miami rebooted its organic menu for the season. New hearty dishes are sweet potato dumplings in coconut wrappers, and celery root lasagna with walnut Bolognese and macadamia ricotta.

    Starting at sunset on Dec. 11, Kundalini yoga instructor Nour Kawa leads a meditation ceremony and A Sacred Circle of Women: Embodiment, Movement and Breath as Medicine. A clinical herbalist who’s trained in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda gives an evening workshop on December 13. It’s also a good opportunity to catch up on holiday shopping at Flow, which carries natural beauty lines, spiritual gifts and sustainable fashions like exclusive denim jackets from Josie Bruno Vintage’s mantra series.

    105 NE 24th Street; (786) 621-5006; thesacredspacemiami.com.