Art Basel 2022: What You Need to Know

Written by J. Scott Orr, Photography by Abe Titus

MIAMI BEACH – The 20th edition of Art Basel, the venerable and singularly important global contemporary art extravaganza, got underway here this week, along with a dozen or so other major art fairs and art events ranging from the unveiling of giant public artworks to the addition of 10 new installations to the street art mecca Wynwood Walls.

ABMB22, Misc, General Impressions, Public Interactions, PR

While Art Basel Week draws elite gallerists, celebrated artists and monied collectors, it also attracts street artists more and more and while some are participating in the various fairs, others are taking advantage of the international spotlight the event casts across the region by taking a DIY approach with pop-ups and guerrilla events.

And, of course there are the parties where the rich and fashionable elites gather to sip champaign and ogle each other, like the one at the Bleau Bar at the Fountainebleau Miami Beach, where you might have been served a cocktail by celebrity bartender Mark Wahlberg; Soho Beach House’s private dinner event hosted by Sean Penn with a performance by Wyclef Jean; or Eva Longoria’s Casa Del Sol Tequila floating installation aboard a super yacht.

Or if hobnobbing with rich people is not your style, maybe you’d prefer to catch Russian punk band Pussy Riot Friday at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami on Friday or megastars 50 Cent, Travis Scott, Offset, and Machine Gun Kelly all week at Miami’s hottest nigth club E11even.

Don’t have/can’t afford tickets (passes to the art fairs cost between around $40 and $90 per day/per fair)? There is free art on display just about everywhere, like the 12 giant Richard Orlinski sculptures in Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road District, the 20-foot tall, stainless steel mesh sculpture of a person’s head outside Design Miami across from the Convention Center, or the new street art mural by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn on NW. 26th St. in Miami’s Wynwood art district.

In its 20th year, Art Basel, the week’s flagship show, is bigger and more diverse than ever with 283 elite galleries from five continents, its leadership said during an opening press conference before a preview of the show, which opens to the public on Thursday.

“The moment this show opened (20 years ago) it established itself as the most important art fair in the most important art market in the world,” said Marc Spiegler, Art Basel global director. He noted that there were doubters from the beginning, a time when the region was in its Miami Vice era of rampant drugs and crime and doubtful style.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber added that the fair and its satellite events were one of the key contributors to the city’s startling rebirth: “Twenty years ago we found our significant other in Art Basel and we could not be happier with it,” he said.

While it’s impossible to see everything taking place during this week-long artistic bacchanal, here a few highlights we culled from press previews before the events opened to the public:

Just a few eye-catchers from the thousands of brilliant pieces on display at Art Basel, the original show and the week’s raison d’ê·tre: Bowl with Eggs (Yellow), Jeff Koons, a 10-foot wide sculpture of a bowl of eggs; Got a Light, Louisa Gagliardi, a much larger-than-life gel medium, nail polish and ink portrait of a woman trying to light a cigarette as though looking up at her through a glass floor; and Sophie Reinhold’s Depression, a collection of paintings of oddly rendered letters that spell out the word “depression.”

Jeff Koons, Bowl with Eggs (Yellow)

The “E” in Sophie Reinhold’s Depression

Louisa Gagliardi, Got a Light

And here are a few interesting pieces from some of the other shows:

John Arena, the so called “Guitar Pick Artist,” who makes starteningly lifelike portraits of rock stars using thousands of brightly colored guitar picks. His work is on display at Red Dot Miami.

Zachary Ochoa, who uses acrylic, oil pastels, stickers, glitter and other substances to create terrifyingly transformed portraits of Disney characters. His Dark Fantasy/The Fame Monster, which portrays a masked Mickey Mouse concealing an axe behind his back is on display at Untitled Art Fair on the beach in Miami Beach.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy/The Fame Monster, Zachary Ochoa

Rolf Nowotny’s NATANKER, a frightening sculpture of a four-footed chimera made of polyurethane, epoxy, synthetic hair, wood, various dirty dishes, a dish rack and traditional Danish folk dancing costume. On display at NADA Miami.

ABMB22, Misc, General Impressions, Public Interactions, PR

Rolf Nowotny, NATANKER

Here’s the info you’ll need to attend some of the major events getting underway in Miami:

Art Basel Miami Beach

Art Basel will feature offerings from 283 of the world’s most prestigious galleries from five continents.

Highlights include:

Art Basel, Dec. 1-4 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach. Hours: Thursday Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Art Miami

Art Miami will feature investment quality paintings, drawings, design, sculpture, NFTs, video art, photography and prints from more than 155 leading galleries across 17 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, India, the Middle East and the United States. Thousands of works from more than 600 artists will be on display, including iconic works from renowned modern masters and blue-chip contemporary works, as well as sought-after living artists.

Art Miami, Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at The Art Miami Pavilion, One Herald Plaza at NE 14th Street, Miami. Hours: Wednesday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 3: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Aqua Art Miami Beach

Aqua Art Miami hosts its 16th edition presenting vibrant and noteworthy international art with an emphasis on supporting galleries with strong emerging and mid-career artists. This year, Aqua is providing space in support of “Buy An Icon, Save A Life In Ukraine,” a conceptual project by Ukrainian artists Sonia Atlantova and Olexander Klimenko.

Aqua Art Miami, Dec. 1-4 at Aqua Hotel, 1530 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. Hours: Thursday, Dec. 1: Noon-9 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, 11a.m.-9p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4: 11a.m.-6p.m.

NADA Miami

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) presents its 20th edition of NADA Miami, showcasing a diverse selection of 146 galleries, art spaces, and nonprofit organizations spanning over 40 cities from around the globe including Paris, Tokyo, Dubai, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Copenhagen. This year’s fair includes over 80 NADA members and 37 first-time exhibitors.

NADA Miami, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4 at Ice Palace Studios, 1400 N Miami Ave, Miami. Hours: Wednesday, Nov. 30, 4-7 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 1-Friday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3: 11 a.m.-6p.m.

Scope Miami Beach

Scope Miami returns for its 21st installment on its pop-up pavilion on the sands of Miami Beach, providing a platform for “experimental innovation and discovery” that features 150 contemporary exhibitors. The new contemporary presents daily programming among large-scale installations that bend, blend and transcend genre.

Scope Miami, Nov. 29-Dec 4, at Ocean Drive between 8th and 10th Streets in Miami Beach. Hours: Nov. 29-Dec 4, 11 A.m.-8p.m.

Prizm Art Fair

Prizm will feature over 60 emerging and established galleries and artists offering their varied diasporic narratives and perspectives and cutting-edge events and installations.

Prizm Art Fair, Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 4220 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Hours: Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Design Miami

Design Miami returns to Miami Beach for its 18th fair, featuring 50 galleries and curio exhibitions, presented alongside a program of partnerships and collaborations, inspired by this year’s theme, The Golden Age: Looking to the Future.

Design Miami, Nov. 30-Dec. 4, Convention Center Drive & 19th Street, Miami Beach. Hours: Wednesday Nov. 30, 1-7 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 2-Saturday, Dec. 3, noon-7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4, noon-6 p.m.

Spectrum Miami

Spectrum Miami presents independent career artists, studios, and younger galleries that are pushing the boundaries in surprising and significant ways.

Spectrum, Dec. 1-4 at Mana Wynwood, 2217 NW 5th Avenue, Miami. Hours: Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 3, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, noon-6 p.m.

Red Dot Miami

Red Dot Miami is an annual gallery-only contemporary art fair that features a provocative agenda that includes site-specific installations, ongoing collaborations with partners, and specially commissioned events.

Red Dot Miami, Dec. 1-4 at Mana Wynwood, 2217 NW 5th Avenue, Miami. Hours: Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 3, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, noon-6 p.m.

INK Miami Beach

INK Miami Art Fair is in its 16th year featuring a range exhibnitors from national and international publishers to nonprofits and galleries with a specific focus on works on paper. Exhibitors for this Fair are selected for their outstanding ability to offer collectors a diverse survey of 20th-century masterworks and newly released editions by leading contemporary artists.

INK Miami, Dec. 1-4 at Suites of Dorchester, 1850 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Hours: Thursday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Satellite Art Show

Satellite Art Show’s 7th edition presents art projects exhibited inside of shipping containers amidst outdoor Installations and performance and video programs. Immersive installations will feature mixed-media, AR/VR activations, and live performances from over 30 exhibitors and nearly 200 artists.

Satellite Art Show, Nov. 29-Dec. 4, Indian Beach Park, 4601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach. Hours: Wednesday, Nov. 30-Saturday, Dec. 3, noon-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, noon-5 p.m.

J. Scott Orr is a career writer, editor and a recovering political journalist. He is publisher of the East Village art magazine B Scene Zine.

Instagram: @bscenezine