Art world convenes for Art Basel Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Where can you find pieces by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso mixed in with Spanish tapas, painted pianos and Google Glass artwork?

The international art world convenes for Art Basel Miami Beach Dec. 5-8 for a taste of modern and contemporary art, historical work and pieces by emerging artists. The fair includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and film and coincides with satellite fairs — from events in the art deco-influenced Miami Beach to Miami's more modern Design District.

Art Basel Miami Beach will feature 250 galleries from across the globe and draw more than 50,000 visitors to the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is the main site for one the world's most prestigious contemporary art fairs. The number of visitors does not include art enthusiasts who flock to South Florida for the free public art pieces on display at a park adjacent to the convention center. Or for Art Conversations, a daily panel discussion featuring influential artists and curators from all over the world. And most — if not all — of the museums in South Florida will host special shows for locals and tourists alike.

"It's about attracting more art collectors," said Bob Goodman, the Florida Representative for Art Basel. "I remember the first year or two people didn't know how to pronounce or spell Art Basel. But it has grown in popularity."

Art Basel Miami Beach is the U.S. extension of the contemporary art fair held each June in Basel, Switzerland, that started in 1970 and grew to include Miami Beach in 2002 and Hong Kong earlier this year. Art Basel Miami Beach includes a greater attendance of galleries from South America and Mexico, organizers say.

"Miami is the crossroads of the Americas, so this fair has more South American influence," Goodman added. (Switzerland's Art Basel in June has more European artwork while Hong Kong features a more Asian influence.)

Contemporary artwork of several Latin American artists will be on display at Mandarin Oriental Miami, including Jose Bedia of Cuba; Liliana Porter of Argentina; Puerto Rico and Cuba's Allora y Calzadilla and Argentina's Julio Le Parc.

Famous works by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso will also be on display, as in previous years. But a new social experience has been added to the calendar this year: Google Glass, Google's Internet-connected eyeglasses, has teamed up with New York-based artist David Datuna for his series "Viewpoint of Billions." Visitors can try on the eyeglasses (there will be multiple devices on location during Art Basel) to have them interact with Datuna's work up close.

Satellite fairs also spring up during Art Basel, from Downtown Miami to the nearby Design District, featuring many galleries and events that open to the public (some of them are free).

Primary Projects in Downtown Miami unites artists, curators and critics this year for "Contender" as Kenton Parker takes on this solo show dedicated to self-portraiture through sculpture, painting, installation and photography.

Art Miami, now in its 24th year, will present 125 galleries from 17 countries along with other art exhibitions and special events in Midtown and Wynwood Arts District.

Spain visits Miami with a traveling exhibition called "Tapas - Spanish Design for Food" running through Dec. 15 at The Moore Building in Miami's Design District. Its first U.S. stop celebrates the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival to the Sunshine State with more than 200 exhibits, displays and installations for this avant-garde experimental blending of design and food.

Known for his sprawling sculptures, South African Nicholas Hlobo's "Intethe" (or Sketch for an Opera) will be featured at Locust Projects, a not-for-profit exhibition space in Miami. His installation will incorporate large-scale rubber sculptures into a performance space and video installation.

Pop Up Piano Miami is also back this year as emerging artists hand-paint about a dozen pianos that are scattered across town (and provide for pop-up performances) and are later donated to local charities. The non-profit launched locally during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2011.

More than 700 donors, art collectors and celebrities are expected to attend the Premiere PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) Gala on Dec. 7 honoring Darlene and Jorge M. Perez, a famed developer and art collector who donated $40 million in cash and art to the museum. There will be a private performance by Grammy award-winning artist Marc Anthony. Tickets to the gala are sold out, but the museum — designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & Meuron — opens to the public on Dec. 4.


If You Go:

ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH: at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive. Tickets can be purchased online or on site.

ART MIAMI: at the Art Miami Pavilion in the Midtown/Wynwood Arts District 3101 NE 1st Ave.

LOCUST PROJECTS: 3852 North Miami Ave.


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