I’ve been trying to put his post together for a few days but it’s been difficult to organize my thoughts. Whether you are a serious art collector and aficionado or know virtually nothing about it, there is really something for everyone to appreciate during the experience that is Art Basel. For me, the enjoyment was as simple as meeting several artists (at the art fairs, not at the convention center – more on that in a minute) who were genuinely excited to take time to speak at length with the people who had come to admire their work and give us a detailed look into how and what inspired them to create each of their pieces. Whether it be a critique on current politics, an examination on provocative women’s attire and how they use it to assert power in relationships, or the study of the emotional bonds between mother and child, each of these artists enthusiastically offered a glimpse into their mind and WANTED us to walk away feeling like we learned something, even if it was small. (Two artists in particular who spent nearly an hour with us and really blew me away with not only their talent but kindness were Kevin Berlin and Alex Guofeng Cao who have sold pieces to the likes of Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton). I left Miami actually feeling changed on an intrinsic level. I left this experience having made acquaintances, and friends, with people who offered such a different point of view about the world we live in from my own and it was exciting, scary and moving all at once, and I am filled with gratitude for all of it.
I could write for the next several hours about all the things I loved about Art Basel, but for anyone plotting a trip to next year’s event and curious about our itinerary, we visited the following shows: Scope (this was my FAVORITE) it was much smaller than the convention center and much more intimate, so you really had an opportunity to interact with the artists and gallery owners. Aqua Art Miami – my second favorite for also being a more intimate gathering where interaction with the artists was commonplace. Art Basel at the convention center; an amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with blue chip pieces like Picasso, Chagall, Motherwell etc. but the crowd was fussy and stuffy and gallery owners impersonal. Lastly, we attended Ink Miami and New Material Art Fair, which were both the smallest of the fairs we attended but still very fun and filled with some unique and a few downright bizarre pieces, which made for a very memorable visit. We also graciously got an invitation to have a few glasses of Ruinart and check out the Louis Vuitton exhibit of a replica of architect Charlotte Perriand's beach house which left us a bit awe-struck. The rest of our time was spent between the beach, our pool and dining (I recommend Dolce, Quattro and Tap Tap for some great dishes that are near many of these art fairs). My only complaint about Art Basel was that it had to end, but I’m already dreaming of a return visit and next time I hope to bring a few pieces home with me!