Above: ”Catchy Sunset,“ by Isabelle Scheltjens at Art Miami - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

Miami Art Week: Art for Everyone

"Catchy Sunset" by Isabelle Scheltjens, Art Miami - Andrew Harper editor

Art Basel debuted in the 1970s to immediate success, with over 16,000 guests and 90 participating galleries from 10 countries. Through the decades, it’s become a powerhouse influencer in the art world and has expanded outside Switzerland to host fairs in Miami Beach, Hong Kong and Paris. It draws gallery owners, museum trustees, art patrons and collectors, but anyone can attend the three-day events, including children (tickets start at $75).

The Wall Art Gallery at Art Miami - Ken Hayden
Galeries Bartoux at Art Miami - Ken Hayden

Our trip to Miami in 2023 coincided with Art Basel Miami Beach, which showcases modern and contemporary art each December at the Miami Beach Convention Center. It featured works from 277 galleries from around the world and drew 79,000 people. But the crowds aren’t just coming for Art Basel. This one international art fair has now grown into Miami Art Week, with more than 20 concurrent fairs, plus all the attendant parties, openings, concerts and other events that surround them. While it’s true that hotel room prices soar, restaurant reservations are tough to secure, and traffic becomes somewhat maddening, art lovers continue to flock here because there’s nothing else quite like it in North America.

One of the largest — and the oldest — fairs is Art Miami, with more than 250 participating galleries. For $60 per person, we spent the day marveling over works from well-known artists like Jasper Johns, Keith Haring and Shepard Fairey and seeing eye-opening pieces from others less familiar to us, like the hyperrealist sculptures of swimmers by Carole Feuerman and a new interactive piece by Lorenzo Quinn (perhaps best known for the 30-foot arms he erected in Venice’s Grand Canal). Ormond Gigli’s iconic “Girls in the Windows” could have been ours for $212,000. We saw a vast array of impressive works, but we’d barely scratched the surface of what was available around the city.

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Above: ”Catchy Sunset,“ by Isabelle Scheltjens at Art Miami - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

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