If this is your first Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), the #1 rule of thumb is: relax, set your watch to “Miami time” and just go with the flow.
Ignore your FOMO, and don’t try to attend every VIP opening and poolside party. Hey, it’s South Beach after all. Unbutton another shirt-button, order that second mojito, and spend the morning at the beach if you feel like it. You’ll give yourself a healthy glow just in time for cocktail-hour.
The undisputed main event during Basel week is the Art Basel fair, which takes place in the heart of South Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is the star around which all the other so-called “satellite fairs” orbit and is the best place to add a 7-figure artwork to your collection, or bump into celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio prowling the aisles.
It should be an absolute must on your agenda, but with nearly 300 participating galleries, your eyes will start to blur if you try to see it all in one shot. Start early before the crowds arrive, and break for a lazy brunch before returning in the afternoon.
Art Basel is the king of the art fairs, but it’s not the only game in town. Far from it. There are dozens of other fairs spread throughout South Beach and downtown Miami. You can’t possibly see them all, but it’s worth checking out a few of the smaller fairs, where the vibe is more laid-back and a painting won’t set you back the price of a small yacht.
With its location right on the beach, Untitled, Miami Beach makes for an especially pleasant viewing experience, and you’ll find a highly curated selection of smaller but well-respected galleries.
To discover the best up-and-coming artists before they make it big, nothing beats the NADA Art Fair, which took place at the Ice Palace Studios in 2018.
The Margulies Collection showcases museum-quality artworks by 20th and 21st century artists from the collection of Martin Margulies. The Rubell Family Collection, founded by Don and Mera Rubell, is known for supporting artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring early in their careers, and is worth a visit to discover tomorrow’s future stars.
It’s hard to believe that when Art Basel Miami Beach first launched in 2002, most art-world insiders pooh-poohed the idea that an art fair could be successful in Miami. It took the support of local collectors to put the fair on the map and they’re still a huge part of what makes ABMB such a special week. You don’t need to be a socialite to visit some of Miami’s top private collections, which are open to the public during Art Basel.