Art Basel Miami Beach 2019: The Ultimate Guide to What to Do and What to See

As art aficionados, celebrities, and fashion folks head to Miami Beach for Art Basel, here’s L’Officiel USA’s guide to what to see and where to be seen.
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Though Art Basel Miami Beach, the US edition of the international contemporary art fair, technically doesn't throw open its doors until this Thursday, locals fondly refer to the entire first week of December as Miami Art Week. In reality, they should call it "Art and Fashion Week," considering all the major brands who have gotten in on the fun over the years. Through collaborations, parties, and special events galore, fashion houses have proven their talent for fêting the arts through their consistent presence at the annual event.

This year, Dior is kicking off Art Basel Miami Beach’s festivities by presenting their latest men’s collection from the mind of Kim Jones, and labels from Loewe through Valentino have their own festivities planned. Whether you are heading to Florida yourself or are an armchair traveler, below is a comprehensive guide to what to do and what to see at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

Art Basel Miami Beach, which has built a cult following of its own after coming out of the original fair in Basel, Switzerland, features a much-anticipated selection of artworks by the masters as well as blue-chip modern and contemporary artists. With over 200 galleries at the fair featuring works from North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations in the main gallery are far from the only thing to see. Be sure to check out the Conversations series, which highlights the perspectives of artists like Marilyn Minter and Nicole Eisenman; Meridians, a new section dedicated to oversized immersive works; and the abundance of public art on view around the city as a part of the Miami Beach fair. Does it all seem overwhelming? The fair’s handy maps and audio guides will ensure you won’t get too lost.

Image: A True Believer, Mircea Suciu, 2018, on view at the Zeno X Gallery / courtesy of Art Basel

Prizm Art Fair kicks off on December 2nd, and its focus is to feature international artists from Africa and the African diaspora as well as emerging markets. The fair is in its seventh season, and this time, artists hail from all corners, including Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa, and the US. Expect boundary-pushing works reflecting today’s trends in contemporary art.

Image: Paula and Arielle, 2016, Jurell Cayetano / via Instagram / @prizmartfair

NADA Miami opens on December 5th. The anti-establishment fair is famous for highlighting young talent, and it predominantly features artists that will soon graduate to the main Art Basel Miami Beach fair. In its 17th year, emerging galleries from Lima, LA, Detroit, Copenhagen, San Juan, Mexico City, and Tokyo will all be bringing works from their rising talents to Miami.


Untitled, Art also features a heavy dose of new and emerging artists. However, the art at this fair comes together thanks to a special curatorial team, which puts select works in dialogue with architecture for an interdisciplinary experience. This year, they’ve tapped San Francisco-based curator Jordan Stein, who has curated a selection of works by Everglades- and South Florida-based artists.

The esteemed Rubell Family Collection has officially moved from Wynwood to neighboring Allapattah and is renaming itself to the Rubell Museum. Opening on Wednesday, December 4, the space boasts over 100,000 square feet and will be the new home for the family's collection of 7,200 works by over 1,000 artists. Expect long-term exhibitions in the new gallery spaces as well as important pieces by Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, and Cindy Sherman.

Photo courtesy of the Rubell Museum

Another new museum will also debut this week in Miami: that of Argentine-American billionaire Jorge M. Pérez. If his last name seems familiar, that is because it's splashed all over another of the city's art buildings, the Pérez Art Museum Miami or PAMM. The billionaire’s latest endeavor, dubbed El Espacio 23, opens December 4 with an inaugural show that explores art's relationship to social unrest.

Photo courtesy of El Espacio 23

On December 5th, famed artist Shepard Fairey will unveil a new outdoor artwork in an undisclosed space in Wynwood, and then will be hosting a private luncheon to celebrate the work and Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot. Hublot is having a big week in Miami with the unveiling of a new watch and the reopening of their boutique in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, and it will be exciting to see the house once again work with the street artist after collaborating on a watch in 2018.

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'Pink Beasts,' Fernando Laposse, 2019 / Courtesy of Miami Design District

The Miami Design District welcomes London-based Mexican artist Fernando Laposse for the 2019 Design Commission. Laposse has created a charming set of pink, hairy sloths from strands of sisal, which will be hanging from the trees and archways throughout the district. Titled Pink Beasts, the installation will also feature a selection of hammocks on which visitors can rest, turning the neighborhood into a millennial pink mecca of artsy relaxation.

Fashion labels are getting in on the Art Basel Miami Beach action, too. Opening December 3, the Loewe Foundation will present its fifth iteration of the Chance Encounters exhibition series, which pairs artists from different disciplines to create unexpected conversations. This year will see a site-specific textile, sound, and video work by British artist Hilary Lloyd, which will be on view at the Loewe store in Miami’s Design District neighborhood along with sculptures from ceramicist Ewen Henderson.

Photo: Robot, Hilary Lloyd, 2015 / Courtesy of Loewe

Miu Miu will unveil its second design collaboration with M/M Paris, entitled M/Marbles Stool. The first stool, aptly named M/Matching Colorstool, launched during Salone del Mobile di Milan earlier this year. This time around, these larger-than-life stools, comprising palm wood, crepe rubber, and hand-blown Murano glass "marbles," will be installed for visitors to discover in iconic Miami locations, such as the historic Buena Vista Post Office and The Standard’s outdoor garden.

Photo courtesy of Miu Miu

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their iconic logo, Italian sportswear brand Kappa is teaming up with artist Vanessa Beecroft to stage her first co-ed live performance. The work, which will also include photography and video, takes inspiration from the brand's unisex nature and will be staged at Miami’s new Lot 11 skatepark. The full project will open on December 5.

After wading into New York Fashion Week by sponsoring the VFiles show, cool-kid favorite retailer Depop is making its Art Basel Miami Beach debut by presenting an exhibit by New York-based creative @slumpykev.

Lastly, if you plan to be in Miami for the weekend, the place to be Saturday night is surely The Edition. Actor and DJ Idris Elba will be on the decks at  the hotel's Basement nightclub, along with Diplo.



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