Art Basel Miami Beach 2012

Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, FL | 12.06 - 12.09.2012 | by Merry Esparza

Style 1 Media Art Basel Miami Beach, the most prestigious art show in the Western Hemisphere, welcomed over 50,000 visitors to its 11th edition from December 6-9, 2012. A companion to Switzerland's Art Basel, and the new Art Basel Hong Kong, the show featured more than 250 galleries from 31 countries. The fair showcases the best and latest in 20th-21st Century art, featuring both established and younger galleries and artists, and attracting seasoned and new art collectors, museum directors, curators, celebrities, and art lovers. Art Basel Miami Beach collaborates with local and international partners to present special exhibitions, events, panel discussions, and private collection tours, making it a nexus for key players in the international art world. (left: "PixCell–Red Deer," Kohei Nawa, 2012; taxidermy covered in glass beads; SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo)

The 2012 edition kicked off with a morning press conference featuring remarks by Art Basel Miami Beach Host Committee Chairman, Norman Braman; Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower; Government of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland President, Guy Morin; Head of Wealth Management for main sponsor, UBS, Jason Chandler; and Art Basel Miami Beach Co-Directors Annette Schönholzer and Marc Spiegler. At the conference, Ms. Schönholzer announced her new role as Director of New Initiatives for Art Basel. After a press reception, VIP collectors began to fill the gallery booths, looking for that special acquisition.

Participating galleries considered this year's show a major success, not only in commercial terms, but also in providing opportunities to meet new collectors and museums curators genuinely interested in their artists. The fair came at a crucial time for many New York galleries that had been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and appreciated the flexibility extended by the organizers. Galleries specializing in Latin American and Brazilian art noted an increased interest in their artists over the past two years.

For the second time, Art Public, curated by LACMA and LAND's Christine Y. Kim and produced with the Bass Museum of Art, brought Collins Park alive with large-scale sculpture, video, installation and live performances. Also in its second year, Art Video, a collaboration with the New World Center and Artprojx's David Gryn, offered free screenings of over 60 videos on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall at Miami Beach's SoundScape Park.

In the Art Kabinett sector, 20 galleries from the Art Galleries sector curated exhibitions in delineated spaces within their booths. Spotlighted artists included Fiona Banner, Chuck Close, Jannis Kounellis, Jorinde Voigt, Yan Xing, Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Marcel Duchamp, Suzanne Duchamp, Helio Oiticica, and Jarbas Lopes. The Art Positions sector featured 16 galleries showcasing the work of individual emerging artists and the Art Nova sector included 40 galleries showing work fresh from the studio by more than 100 international artists. Leading art world figures took part in Art Basel Conversations presented by sponsor Absolut Art Bureau and in Art Salon, a series of shorter talks featuring topics of importance in today's art world.

Miami's warm climate, beaches, deco architecture, and luxurious hotels attract tourists all year long, but during Art Basel Miami Beach, the city is all about the celebration of art. Outside the show, pavilions and hotels buzz with art fairs, exhibitions, and parties. The Rubell Family Collection, Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, the De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, World Class Boxing, the Margulies Collection, and the Dacra Collection opened their doors to guests. Area museums scheduled events to coincide with the fair, including the Miami Art Museum, the Bass Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; the Norton Museum; and the Wolfsonian-FIU.

For collectors, art lovers, and others involved in the art world, Art Basel Miami Beach is an event not to be missed. If you are considering attending next year's event, scheduled from December 5-8, 2013, make travel plans several months in advance. Flights and hotels fill up quickly during Miami Arts Week.

For more information, please visit: Art Basel Miami Beach.