The Origins of Miami Art Week

From December 1 to 5 we look forward to seeing you at Red Dot Miami, booth R115!

by Heather Zises

Each year during the first week of December, thousands of art-world professionals, collectors, and investors flock to South Florida for Miami Art Week in search of art trends and a new generation of emerging art stars. This multifaceted spectacle offers an array of art fairs, events, and programming from leading art institutions and galleries, both on-site and online. Centered around the main fair, Art Basel, Miami Art Week connects satellite art fairs that bring together artists and galleries from around the globe. This year, many of the marquee fairs have returned after a year of cancellation or virtual formats due to the pandemic, reminding us of the vital role that in-person exhibitions play. In addition to Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Art Week will host the following fairs: Untitled Art Miami, NADA Miami Beach, Scope Miami Beach, Red Dot Miami, Art Miami, Context Art Miami, Aqua Art Miami, Design Miami, Ink Miami, and Pinta Miami.

Red Dot Miami 2021

 

The catalyst for Miami Art Week—Art Basel—is a renowned Swiss art fair considered to be one of the most prestigious art world events of its kind. Founded in 1970 by local gallerists, the privately owned, international art fair is staged annually in Basel, Switzerland, and draws throngs of influential collectors, dealers, and influencers. In its inaugural year, Art Basel featured 90 galleries representing 10 countries and attracted more than 16,000 visitors. In 2002, the blockbuster fair debuted in Miami Beach, under the direction of Sam Keller. Featuring 160 galleries from 23 countries, it attracted more than 30,000 visitors.  In 2008, Art Basel launched its third satellite fair in Hong Kong, which fostered a strong gallery culture in the city, just like it did for Miami in 2002.

This year Agora Gallery will be participating in Red Dot Miami from December 1-5, featuring 32 artists. From December 1 to 5 we look forward to seeing you at Red Dot Miami, booth R115!

First established in 2006, Red Dot is part of Miami Art Week and is held in the city’s arts district every December, at the same time as Art Basel Miami Beach. It is a curated, gallery-only contemporary art fair. In addition to showcasing 75 of the top galleries from around the world, Red Dot Miami features a provocative agenda that includes site-specific installations, ongoing collaborations with their partners, and specifically commissioned events that take place during the fair. Hosted by the iconic Mana Wynwood in the heart of the Wynwood arts district and running alongside sister fair Spectrum Miami, Red Dot offers the unique opportunity to connect with blue-chip galleries and emerging artists, all under one roof. This year’s fair features and impressive array of specialty curated programs showcasing exhibitors, art industry professionals, and select nonprofits and institutions. Their programming provides a dynamic experience for attendees to view and interact with site-specific and performance-based works by leading international artists. Featured programs include Art Labs, Spotlight Galleries, Director’s Picks and the Discovery Collection. A bonus feature that has been added by the fair is the “Shop By Fair” option which allows Red Dot enthusiasts to explore and shop hundreds of galleries and artists both locally and across the country.

All of this fanfare makes it hard to believe that just a few decades ago there were hardly any museums in Magic City, let alone major art shows.  It was not until 2002, when Miami Beach began hosting Art Basel, that the city quickly became an international hub for contemporary art. Since then, the steady proliferation and renovation of several landmark museums has served as a major contributor toward the burgeoning Miami art scene. Spotlight institutions include, The Bass, a celebrated museum housed in the former Miami Beach public library which was founded in 1964 and renovated in 2001; The Perez Art Museum Miami, which made headlines in papers in 1984 as the first of three buildings to be unveiled in a $24 million county-owned complex designed by Philip Johnson, and became an instant hit when it relocated in 2013 to Museum Park into a sleek waterfront building designed by Herzog & de Meuron; The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA) a splashy vertical art space which launched in 2014 and relocated into the Design District in 2017; The Rubell Museum, founded by mega collectors Don and Mera Rubell, which opened in 2019 and relocated in 2020 into a former DEA warehouse; and lastly the Museum of Graffiti, which specializes in street art and subculture and opened in 2019 in the Wynwood neighborhood during Miami Art Week.

In tandem with the museums, major galleries and project spaces have proliferated over the last 20 years who smartly plan their key shows around Miami Art Week. Spaces like David Castillo, Locust Projects, Nina Johnson (formerly Gallery Diet), Yeelen Gallery, Spinello Projects and Bakehouse Art Complex have each participated in various programming throughout the duration of art fair week. There are also a handful of globally recognized collections that include outstanding works by modern and contemporary artists.  Many are integral components of art fair programming and are highlighted for their selection and/or tie in with a current exhibition. In addition to the Rubell Collection that was previously mentioned above, there is also The Margulies Collection founded in 1999 in the Wynwood Arts District which presents seasonal exhibitions of photography from collector Martin Z. Marguiles as well as educational programs, special exhibition programs, and an international loan program; the de la Cruz Collection in the Design District built in 2009 by Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz which features a lot of 21st-century Latin American art; and The Bunker in Palm Beach which opened in 2017 as a private art space that features rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and viewable storage of the Beth Rudin deWoody Collection.

Need some specific advice regarding your art collection or help in starting afresh? Benefit from our curatorial services! To know more, contact us at sales@agora-gallery.com

Since its inception, Miami Art Week has transformed Miami into an international capital of contemporary art. Throughout the week, the dazzling events engage the entire city of Miami and also attract art aficionados from around the globe. From an international roster of leading galleries to a selection of new exhibitors, the fairs have displayed some of the most innovative contemporary art while exposing members of the arts community to the most culturally relevant work in their field. While international in scope, Miami Art Week is quintessentially Miami, presenting a vigorous and energizing artistic celebration.

Leave a Reply