Reflecting North and South America’s political and economic turbulence and artists’ domestic and environmental concerns, Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 — its 17th edition — will open to the public December 6 through 9 at the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. Two hundred and sixty eight exhibitors will display work in tried and true sectors: Galleries, where gallerists present their choice of artists and where 12 galleries have moved to from their previous sectors; Nova, where three artists will exhibit in each of the twenty nine gallery-supported booths; Survey, showing 16 works made since 2000; Positions, where emerging galleries will show 14 solo artists, eight for the first time; Kabinett, with themed exhibits; Edition, where 11 galleries show prints; Conversations, where artists, curators and gallerists discuss the work and the art world; and Magazines, the sector where influential art publications, including Artscope, are displayed and available to read.
Due to Art Basel’s history, and imprimatur, art world citizens trust its judges’ and participants’ selections. They seem uncanny in predicting and choosing work relevant to current events, particularly in Miami Beach. Clearly selection committee members’ have their pulse on politics, artists’ reactions and intelligent art market economic research. This is apparent in their choice to include judges such as Tim Blum, of Blum & Poe, who is a champion of artist Sarah Sze’s sprawling installations of gestural painting and accumulations of small objects, which illustrate her personal reaction to current events. Others include Chantal Crousel of Galerie Chantal Crousel, David Fleiss (Galerie 1900-2000), José Kuri (kurimanzutto), Friedrich Petzel (Petzel) and Mary Sabbatino of Galerie Lelong & Co. who all represent social justice artists including Alfredo Jaar, (whose refugees ship will float off Miami Beach), Kristof Wodisko, Mark Bradford and others of social, as well as artistic, excellence and significance.
Art Basel proves that the buying elite and the caring public can exist hand in hand. It is this willing confluence of art, social and political statement and inquiry into what is current and lasting that signifies Art Basel. Their power in the art world enables them to further art as a significant contributor and reflection of what happens in our world, and that is why Art Basel matters. Patrons are able to consider visualizations of political statements and global concerns while surrounded by other patrons of art viewing art approved and exhibited by those who legitimately determine quality and relevance. They do not hesitate to buy and display, adding credence to the timeliness and importance of exhibited artists’ work. Caring to bring new and emerging galleries to the eyes of the public, a tiered fee structure for booths at all Art Basel will charge smaller and emerging galleries less than the larger, older galleries in 2019, ensuring their success.