So why do we all go down to Miami during Basel weekend? When hotels are more expensive, only Wynwood is free, and all the parties are iron clad guarded. That is exactly why, because who cares if you don’t get into the VIP preview, you can still attend during general admission and post a picture from inside the convention center, in front of a Frank Stella sculpture that you erroneously hash tagged #RichardSerra #LoveHim #ArtBasel2014. You are from NY, or Paris so you know some one who can get you into the Le Baron pop-up party. On Instagram you follow Virgil and his Dj gigs, then you hear of another party, and visit NADA because it’s free. There goes your next art fair post, by Saturday you have crashed or rightfully attended enough fairs and parties to justify your expenses and you are on the beach. Scrolling through pictures of the cold weather back home on your IG feed and you caption #MadeIt #Miami #ArtBasel2014 #OOTD and it’s you in a bikini.
The business of art is a world you are born into, invited, or work really hard to break into. Art Basel is the business of art. Exclusive opening, VIP access, VIP Preview, Media Reception, VIP Lounge, Vernissage by Invite only, these are all meant to sell art, and then General admission.
I first attended Art Basel Miami 4 years ago with accreditations from TIWIMUTA. Arrived at the media reception and stayed for the Vernissage, which follows VIP preview. The preview is very serious and a lot of art is sold. This year Sean Kelly who has been a part of the Miami Basel game from the start stated (via ArtNet) that the first days of the fair have been the “strongest” to date. Mr. Kelly also commented on the increasing number of collectors from Latin America. Doubt the fair is trying to exclude any one, they just want the invitees to think they are. Maybe collectors don’t want anyone around while they buy pieces by Hugo McCloud, Teresita Fernandez, and Kehinde Wiley, at least not until the excluded become artists to watch. I’m sure the fair would gladly charge you extra for VIP tickets and let you eat the food and sip the champagne from sponsors who paid for everything.
love for art, appreciation for the work, and the desire to show work also lives and thrives this weekend. Independent galleries, collectives and smaller fairs also take advantage of this weekend by producing their own exhibits and installations anywhere for eyes everywhere. I would say these projects have no desire of becoming as big as Art Basel, but that’s not true. When you show anything you want people to come, you want them to love it, and unless you have a trust fund you want to sell and eventually make a living from it. This is the “work hard to break into” part, the early stages that most go through. You put a show together, you spend money, people show up and you hope to be able to do it again some how. The goal is to pioneer and start something new, maybe a bit rebellious outside the convention center, and outside the conventional. This is what we have been doing with NYMND Miami for the past 2 years, more about this in our Miami show recap.
Who are you? Are you the hype and party chaser who suffers from FOMO, business of art person, or the genuine selfless artist and art lover (at least for now). The answer is who cares your in Miami, your having fun, you saw some art work, you showed some art work, sold some or a lot, maybe one day you can buy some. Art Basel weekend is becoming a lot more balanced, with 75,000 attendees and growing, sales records being shattered, new fairs, many independent projects, and new artist breaking through it is evident that all expectations are being met. Art is being shown, sold and appreciated, the parties are getting better and pictures are being “grammed” #ArtBasel #Miami #NYMND #TillNextYear.
By. Ronny Estrella