Mariana Dias / Contributing Writer
Every first week of December, Miami and its beaches turn into the greatest art hub on the planet, gathering artists, galleries and collectors in a variety of art fairs and exhibitions. The week is marked by the Art Basel Fair, Miami Art week and numerous private or free events and parties.
Even though Art Basel can be thought of as this whole week of artistic madness, it is actually the name of one of the main fairs. The fair was founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1970 with the intent of gathering international artists, galleries, publishers and collectors in one space. Today, the fair is a platform for new upcoming artists, renowned contemporary works, photography, new media and installations. Art Basel’s Miami Edition has been around since 2002 and welcomes thousands of people every year. The fair takes place in the Miami Beach Convention Center and doors open to the public this Thursday. Even though the huge crowd might throw you off, don’t worry, there is plenty of champagne to be sipped and lots of interesting things to been seen.
In the mainland, another major art fair takes place. Art Miami, around for 24 years, is the pioneer art fair in Miami and the event that started it all. The fair showcases modern and contemporary art from 125 international art galleries. It takes place in Midtown, and is adjacent to CONTEXT, its sister art fair. CONTEXT focuses on emerging artists, offering a space for communication and development between artists, galleries and collectors. The combined space of both pavilions is 200 thousand square feet, and will host 190 galleries.
Another prominent fair, now in its ninth year, will take place at Ice Palace Studios in downtown Miami. PULSE focuses on contemporary art, but also showcases video art and performance art.
In contrast to the dozens of art fairs, this week is highlighted by the opening of the Perez Art Museum, in the heart of downtown Miami. The museum, located on Biscayne Boulevard, promises to be Miami’s much needed social and cultural hub. Aside from its gala receptions and VIP opening parties, entrance to PAMM will be free from Dec. 4 to 8 to all Miami-Dade residents.
So what is the place for college students on a budget in this midst of swarming crowds of millionaire art collectors?
No fear, free events are here: The YoungArts Center and the ArtCenter/South Florida will host free exhibitions, Wynwood will unveil its new murals and a gator the size of a football field will be floating on Biscayne Bay. Another event with free admission is the Miami Street Photography Festival, held in Wynwood and offering lectures and workshops.
Ironically, for the luck of college students, this week clashes with one of the most frustrating times of the year: finals week. See Art Basel as a light shining behind a dark cloud of impending doom. Take a break and head out to the streets; you’ll definitely find something that will inspire you.