Thanks to Art Basel Miami Beach, an Art Expo that originated in Basel Switzerland, for the past 18 years Miami and Miami Beach have become the epicenter for a week of art-related experiences. Educational presentations, culturally diverse exposure, elegant parties and down-to-earth social interaction take place wherever there is space. While the Art Basel Expo takes place inside the state-of-the-art Miami Beach Convention Center, major Satellite Art Fairs are set up in block-long tents.
Store fronts are turned into pop-up galleries. Hotel Lobbies and empty hotel rooms are filled with artwork. Established museums host extravagant Art Openings. The city of Miami Beach sponsored an installation of sand sculptures that look like cars.
The Nader Museum installed thirteen statues by master Painter and Sculptor Fernando Botero on Lincoln Road.
All this grabs the attention of hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to Miami and Miami Beach in droves specifically to be part of the scene.
And this year, a banana duct-taped to the wall at Art Basel Miami Beach stole the show!
As media, Stewart Stewart and I (Dena Stewart) attended the preview of Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 before the International Art Fair opened its doors to the public. We saw the “COMEDIAN” before the hype!
We laughed at the simplicity of the concept by artist Maurizio Cattelan – and were amazed at the level of conversation, inspiration, and emotion the display generated. In addition to the 81,000 people who attended Art Basel Miami Beach and saw the banana first-hand, this exhibit even inspired a social media competition … who can tape the biggest and most outrageous fruit and/or vegetable to a wall. And this was before it was reported that the “Comedian” was sold to a private collector for $125,000 USD.
Then along came performance artist David Datuna who removed the banana from the wall and ate it. Not to worry. Artist Maurizio Cattelan had another banana or two handy just in case of such vandalism! But by Sunday, the crowds were posing a nuisance to the surrounding nearby Gallery exhibitors. The organizers of Art Basel had no choice but to ask Perrotin, the gallery that represents artist Cattelan, to take down the controversial display. “With a heavy heart” they did!
So, was this a contrived publicity stunt from the get-go? Maybe? If yes, it was a good one! As a result, the 18th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach (December 5 to December 8, 2019), once again outdid itself. Miami Art Week was sensational. In addition to more than 200 Galleries housed in the main Halls of the Miami Beach Convention Center, this year Meridians was debuted for large-scale installations that were set up in the new (open to the public for the very first time) Meridian Ballroom.
As in previous years, Stewart and I tried to see as much art as physically possible and take advantage of the best part of Miami Art Week – meeting up with colorful artists, designers, art enthusiasts, art buyers, collectors, and friends.
In Episode 77 of Alive on South Beach we spoke with Elysze Held, Stylist and Fashion Editor for the Miami Herald’s Indulge Magazine; Carol Coombes, Grant Writer and Consultant for non-Profit Arts Organizations; Shimeah Daviz, New York Web Designer/Art Director; Chef Norman van Aken, Creative Culinary Artist (Time Out Market Miami Beach); Roger That, Miami-based Fashion Designer; Donovan Swick, Art Curator from Knoxville, Tennessee; and Daniel Chimowitz, New York Fashion Designer.
Some of the Satellite Art Fairs we went to include, but were not limited to:
All in all, Miami Art Week 2019 was creatively stimulating and socially exciting, climaxing with the annual sensational Sagamore Hotel Brunch.
And now, we look forward to Miami Art Week 2020.