Artillery's Lowdown on Miami Fairs

“What’s Art Basel like?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Mainly because within my friend groups I’m either the only artist, or I’m the only artist who makes it her business to visit the fairs in Miami. My first time making this trip was two years ago. I didn’t attend Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB), and it confused a lot of people. I find myself having to explain over and over again: ABMB is one of several (SEVERAL) art fairs that pop up concurrently during Miami Art Week every December. In other words, if you never step foot inside the Miami Convention Center in South Beach during art week, then you’ve never been to Art Basel.

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And that’s okay! I’ll keep it diplomatic; it’s not my favorite fair. That high and lofty distinction goes to Miami Project, which unfortunately, is postponed until next year. ABMB is the most moneyed and “distinguished” fair. But there’s also Aqua, which I enjoyed last year, mainly because an artist friend of mine was showing there and got me in for free (shoutout to Liz Tran for hooking a sister up). And there’s Pulse, which was wonderfully inspiring the past two years I went. And there’s Satellite (which brands themselves as an anti-Basel), Form, Untitled, No Commission, CONTEXT, Nada, Scope, and parties, and panels, and hobnobbing, and exchanging business cards with gallerists and museum curators and twerking with artists who hail from near and far.

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That’s what Miami Art Week is like. The oligarchs come in from overseas to pick out their decor at Design Miami and their fine art at the several fairs so that they can look tasteful and/or wash their money. The museum officials come to town to shake hands and finalize business on international exhibitions. The galleries come to town to push their faves, to make that overhead, to stay afloat. The artists come to town to compare notes and consignment agreements, take a dip in the ocean, dance and advise each other which dealers aren’t worth working with (shoutout to Kesha Bruce for schooling the shit out of me last year). And Instagram influencers come to town because they think it’s important to be seen here, and I don’t know, maybe it is. You never know.

I’ll take you there. Make sure you’re following @artillery_mag on Instagram, because this year, I’ll be uploading interviews and pictures to our feed, and taking you on a journey on Stories so that you can know what Miami Art Week is like. Daily wrap-ups will be posted here. I’ll do my best not to embarrass my mother or get Artillery in trouble.