Miami Beach goes through a complete transformation the first week of December. More than 50,000 visitors will sweep into town to attend the biggest art block party Miami has ever thrown. The 12th annual Art Basel is gracing Miami once again showcasing the top art galleries from around the world. Inside the Miami Beach Convention Center approximately 260 galleries from 29 countries including North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia will be showcased. These artworks that include every artist from Picasso and Warhol to the unknown up and coming are worth about $2.5 billion.
Art Basel, which was founded in the 1970’s, stage’s the world’s modern and contemporary art shows annually in three main locations: Basel, Europe; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong. Art Basel has been a driving force in the promotion and development of the arts and this year the fair continues to be innovating by expanding its platform for new artists. Its worldwide reputation has attracted the world’s leading galleries and collectors, making it the place where the art world meets.
There is no denying that the impact from the fair is comparable to 20 smaller art fairs combined. But, with great success comes great pressure. Over the past few years, Miami Beach has felt the pressure to step up and make the Art Basel everything that it is known for. “Basel has been like steroids to our community. I don’t think anyone would dispute that the PAMM happened at a more accelerated rate than it might have without Basel’s presence,” said Michael Spring, the director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs to the Miami Herald. “When something like Basel lands in your city, you either come off as country bumpkins or you bring your best game.”
Each December, more and more people attend the Art Basel; according to Miami New Times, there will be an estimated $500 million in sales and an added 1000 galleries in attendance. In the beginning of December, South Florida transforms into an art lover’s paradise. With miles of outdoor installations, dozens of concerts, and club parties, the life of Floridians during the first week of December is like nothing else.
The height of Florida’s cultural calendar, the Art Basel is an ambitious vision of passion and determination even forty years later. Aside from the main fair, there is art, films and events happening all around to interest everyone. From intellectual artist talks and hip-hop shows to cheese sculpting, this year’s lineup has an overwhelming menu of events for every art lover.
-Anjelica Duggins, 2013