Art Basel is like a meteor that falls to earth creating an energy crater in Miami Beach, with layers and layers of concentric circles of influence reverberating for miles. During my visit, I spent much time digging for diamonds, being attracted to art that spoke not only for the moment, but that radiated infinitesimal revelation of the past and projections of possible futures.
As an artist, curator and gallery director, I naturally stood in awe of the logistical tangles of such a large and complex event, of the thousands of workers involved in every aspect of the exhibitions, the gallery owners’ selections and vision, and logistical challenges and safety issues. Certainly, this is a feat of feats.
Art Basel Miami Beach is the epicenter of the comprehensive Miami Art Week, and I also ventured off campus to the streets of the city proper to find out how the main event impacted the daily art life of Miami artists and gallerists. I contrasted the two worlds, attempting to find the bridge between high-end commerce and artists struggling to maintain their art practices: between the spectacle and the everyday ambitions of the artists and gallerists. I found that, as with many cities, the pandemic weighed very heavily on the general health of the art community, forcing the closing of many of the galleries I had scoped out in my travels. However, the return of Art Basel with its significant attendance, the nurturing and re-growth of gallery life is hopeful, if not assured.