Art Basel’s back and it’s hitting the beach

Illustration by Jacqueline Villavicencio

Illustration by Jacqueline Villavicencio

Miami Beach’s Art Basel is a weekend-long art exhibition featuring open galleries, live art, exclusive parties and some of the best people-watching in the world.

The exhibition officially begins on Dec. 3 and runs through Dec. 7. Artists come from all over the world to display their work at the Miami Beach Convention Center and other participating venues.

“These artists have been in the art scene for decades,” said Aiyana Baida, an Art Basel fan and graduate student in the School of Communication. “It takes so much to get featured.”

Opening night festivities begin on Dec. 3, with a free nighttime concert held on the beach between 21st and 22nd streets at 10 p.m. The main act has not been announced, but last year Iggy Pop and The Stooges performed.

Tours of select galleries in the Wynwood art district and the Design District of downtown Miami are open to the public, as are many studios and assorted nighttime performances.

The original Art Basel, held in Basel, Switzerland, began in 1970. Local arts and business leaders, including Norman Braman, helped bring this world-renowned event to Miami Beach in 2002.

Art Basel not only features well known artists, it also showcases some up-and-coming, less visible artists.

“Last year, I went to Lincoln Road, where there was the work of lesser known artists that weren’t displayed in the Convention Center,” Baida said. “Their work was incredible. It’s a great opportunity to discover new artists. It’s rewarding to see all of the presentations and not just the official Art Basel ones.”

Hungry art enthusiasts this year can find 10 different area art shows that are not directly connected with the official Art Basel.

Because many galleries throughout Miami-Dade hold their own walkthroughs and events to celebrate this unique event, Art Basel touches all of Miami, not just Miami Beach.

The center of Art Basel is the ArtDeco district in Miami Beach, within walking distance of many hotels and restaurants. Filled with artists, art lovers, tourists and the usual local characters, the entire area will also provide excellent opportunities to just sit and observe people.

Shuttles are available between many of the events. Most galleries can be reached by a short cab ride (somewhere between $5-$10) or a South Beach Shuttle ride (for $0.25).

In addition to the art exhibitions, many nearby nightclubs will host events, including sets by DJ duo MSTRKRFT at Heathrow Lounge in South Beach, Detroit musicians ADULT at the White Room in the Design District, and the Homegrown Party hosted by the Miami New Times, featuring the Spam Allstars and live art by Lebo and others at The Vagabond.

Students can purchase discounted one-day tickets for $20. General admission is $35 for one day, $55 for two days, and $75 for a full pass. Other options are available as well and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Some events may have separate admission prices or require special passes.

More information and a complete schedule can be found at