Miami is such a vibrant and active city that I thought the most you could get out of it was the beautiful sun, the delicious food, the beach and a great tan. Little did I know that each year Miami turns into a tourist hotspot for the event of the year which is Art Basel. Think of it as the super bowl or the world cup for the art world. There is a slight chance that I could be exaggerating this but that’s definitely what it felt like. It’s pretty much the first week and a half of December where there are nonstop events, pop-ups, installations, epic parties and celebrity sightings. There are only three Art Basels in the world; Miami, Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland (the OG). I didn’t know what to expect and I was completely overwhelmed by trying to figure out what I’d be doing because there was just so much going on. Surprisingly, however, I managed to see a good chunk of exhibitions for practically free! I even did a super quick recap video that highlighted some of the galleries I ventured to! Scroll down and check out some of the cool scenes I weaseled my way into.
PRIZM ART FAIR
I scoured many sites and Instagram pages to not only find events during Art Basel, but to find interesting and preferably free ones too because seeing expensive art is expensive. I think it was really advantageous for me to be here prior to the main Art Basel week as there were a couple of kick-off events which were open to the public. One of the events was Prizm Art Fair. This was the first event I went to and actually one that fit my interests exactly. This exhibition featured talented artists and creatives from, “the African diaspora and emerging markets.” Here are some pieces of work that I found incredible.
MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
Once Art Basel was really underway, I started to see the city become flooded with cars and people. My main method of getting around was Uber Pool and can I just say it’s the greatest thing. It’s been a while since I used Uber (being that I’ve been in Ethiopia the last three years). So Pool was a whole new concept for me. I kept most of my rides under $4 which is crazy considering how far I traveled and how long I stayed in traffic. I didn’t realize that while Art Basel was the main attraction, simultaneously there was Miami Art Week which had it’s own events popping off left and right. The heart of it being in the Miami Design District. I figured, if I were to just roam around that area, I’d definitely find galleries and dope exhibitions. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised by not only the events but the design district itself as it had some beautiful streets and architectural designs as you’ll see.
Another permanent location in Miami that is overflowing with creative art installations is a trendy area called Wynwood. Probably best known for the Wynwood Walls, you can find this area adorned with the most incredible wall paintings and street art any time of the year. The first time I traveled to Miami three years ago I visited this spot but now recognizing the walls with completely different art. I don’t know how often they change them, but it’s awesome to know that the walls temporarily hold an artist’s creation and then change into a blank canvas for yet another artist to paint their magic. It seemed pretty obvious that there would be something arranged for Art Basel. I had visited a couple of weeks back and the actual exhibition of Wynwood Walls had only slightly changed but I still walked around and found some cool stuff that were put on for the busy week.
PULSE ART FAIR
After hitting up all the spots above, I was still craving more of Art Basel so I started looking at the fairs that included galleries from all over the world. Pulse Art Fair caught my attention because there was a photographer I followed on Instagram, Prince Gyasi, and he was exhibiting his work with the Nil Gallery. I paid a reasonable fair of $25 that granted access to over 30 galleries from around the world. The art was absolutely incredible! There were so many different types of artists featured including archival photos from Andy Warhol. I really felt the Art Basel vibe at the exhibit and gladly spent two hours (I was just as shocked) walking around and capturing the diverse collections.
NIKE ART BASEL RUN
Lately, as a means of working out and getting to know the city, I started running with the Nike Running Club. This group is an inspirational source of energy in so many ways. I first downloaded the Nike Running app and started tracking my runs. I then saw running events that occurred around the city and started joining them. During this hectic week, I checked to see if their schedule got switched around and to my delightful surprise I found that Nike was collaborating with Art Basel to do a special run. Spots were limited so I signed up immediately and got my life from that run. We gathered at the exclusive Soho Beach House in South Beach, did a light 3 miles and came back to the hotel and enjoyed a delicious brunch. Not to mention, all participants were given Nike swag bags with shoes, shorts, pants, tops and sports bras to wear on the day of the run. Nike turned me into a loyal customer that day, that’s all I’m saying.
All in all Art Basel was incredible, I think I did it right and then some, and I will definitely stay on my toes to find other incredible events like this.