Top Five Art Fairs to Visit in Miami + Art Basel Miami Beach

The main fair officially opens on December 5th and runs through December 8th, but the art world has already begun its descend onto Miami Beach. VIP parties and events already started over the weekend and one of the first notable receptions is to take place tonight at The Untitled fair. Tonight’s preview will be  hosted by the performance artist Marina Abramovic and will benefit the Marina Abramovic Institute as well as the Elton John AIDS Foundation. So, this is tonight’s hot ticket!

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As far as the art fairs go, last year showed us that the satellite fairs, with a reduced amount of air kissing and not a Celine bag in sight, were the ones with the most engaging and accessible content. So here is a list of the five-ish art fairs we recommend you visit this year.

Art Miami (3101 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL) — This is where it all started. The first art fair to anchor itself in Miami, Art Miami is still the week’s strongest venue. Everyone we talked to last year agreed that high-priced masterpieces aside, this was the more interesting fair to attend. This year’s line up includes 125 galleries, with some returning for their 5th, 10th and 15th year. See some of our interviews from last year’s fair. One of the galleries participating this year is a Washington D.C. based CONNERSMITH, previously profiled on galleryIntell during The Armory Show. Download the Art Miami floor plan.

Art Basel Miami Beach (1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida) — The biggest, the flashiest and the most expensive of all venues, look at it as the Bergdorf’s of the art world. The mothership. Multi-million-dollar sales are closed here, so take your Black Amex from the freezer and we’ll see you and your Celine Phantom at the Convention Center! Watch our interviews from ABMB 2012. Click here to download the venue access map.

Context Art Miami (3201 NE 1st Avenue, Miami, FL) — The sister fair to Art Miami made its debut last year. It was very well-received, and so this year we are looking forward to seeing how it’s grown.

Pulse Art Fair (The Ice Palace, 1400 North Miami Avenues, Miami, FL) — This is a fair organized by the same amazing people who run the Affordable Art Fair in New York. With Cristina Salmastrelli at the helm, the venue is featuring some of the strongest art galleries from New York and around the world. Our favorites include the Von Lintel gallery, that recently relocated from NY to LA, Yancey Richardson, Bryce Wolkowitz gallery and taubert Contemporary. Download the floor plan here.

Scope Art Fair (9th Ave and Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL) — Fabulously international art fair has followed in the footsteps of the Untitled and moved itself to the beach! Who are we to say no? We love it! So, check out Galerie Marc Hachem from Paris, and Gallery 11.21 from Moscow! This staple of the art fair scene has moved to the white sands of South Beach, where their tent will be full of galleries of uneven quality— but hey, it’s on the beach.

Untitled Art Fair (Ocean Drive and 12th Street, Miami Beach, FL) — Second year for this art fair that surprised many in 2012. The beautiful curved tent on the beach was, for many, a welcome reprieve from the intense and labyrinth-like Convention Center. Many of the galleries are young programs, focusing on emerging talent, but don’t expect bargains. Last year DODGEgallery was selling out works for just under $100K. This year the fair features 94 galleries, so it’s sure to expand its footprint, but hopefully will retain its accessibility.

And a notable footnote: Design Miami (Meridian Avenue & 19th Street, Miami Beach, FL – right next to Art Basel Miami Beach art fair is a fun side note to the high-ticket art. This year Moscow’s Heritage International Art Gallery is mounting an exhibit called “Interior Design for the Soviet Elite 1930-1940“. The show will focus on the two primary interior design styles of the two decades preceding the Second World War: “Soviet Art Deco” and the “Soviet Empire style” that were intended to glorify Stalin’s government. Someone who knows a thing or two about that part of history we are going to be making a bee-line for the pavilion! See you there!

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