Cultural Compass

Art Basel

Art. Art. Art Everywhere. A Guide to Navigate Art Week in Downtown Miami.

A Bloomberg article points out that Art Basel triggered the transformation of Miami into a cultural powerhouse with new museums and a performing arts center. And turned the area into a relocation destination for the world’s moneyed.

Photo courtesy of Art Basel. For schedule, directions and further information, please visit

Art Basel descends on South Beach every December since 2002 and radiates art throughout Miami. Art Basel originated in Basel, Switzerland, in 1970.

The 2018 edition expects to draw some 80, 000 art dealers, artists, collectors and aficionados from December 6 to the 9th.

Galerie Maria Bernheim. Ebecho Muslimova, Fatebe Self Possession, 2017. Courtesy of Art Basel.

The exhibit is divided into sectors representing separate curatorial spaces. Nova is new, cutting-edge works from emerging artists and galleries. Kabinett focuses on a body of work by a single artist or a themed group exhibition. Survey is dedicated to art history projects. For Edition leading publishers exhibit collaborations with renowned artists that resulted in significant and rare publications. The sector Galleries serves as the centerpiece. And there is a sector for magazines, and the series of Conversations, tackling topics ranging from Institutions and Art Education to the Role of Museums on the Age of Political Polarization.

Not returning for the 2018 edition is the Public Sector at Collins Park, featuring sculptures and site-specific installations. In its place, Art Basel, in partnership with New York’s The Kitchen, brings a multidisciplinary installation by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas: Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist… It combines elements of sculpture, performance, dance and music. The work is presented in the newly designed Grand Ballroom at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) and is free and open to the public from December 6 to December 9.

Abraham Cruzvillegas, Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist… Photo courtesy of Art Basel. For further information, please visit

Downtown Miami

Downtown is not immune to December’s art fever. In effect, it shines with its own light. On the former site of the Miami Herald, Art Miami and sister fair Context have found a convenient home, accessible by water taxi and the free Metromover. A short walk southward is PAMM. Further down, the historic Central Business District along Flagler Street has adopted Art Week like never before.

Here is the Downtown NEWS Guide for Art WEEK in the neighborhood:


One of Miami’s cultural symbols is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM.) It reflects, according to the official brochure, the diversity in art, architecture and design proper to its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas.

Cant’ miss Christo’s blockbusting documentary exhibition Surrounded Islands. On December 4, 2 pm, Cristo will discuss the large-scale public works he created with his late wife and collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, over the course of a monumental career that spans six decades. On December 7, there will be a special screening of Albert and David Maysles’ classic 1986 film about Surrounded Islands, followed by a discussion and Q&A with Christo.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands. Woven polypropylene fabric surrounding 11 islands, Styrofoam, steel cables, and anchoring system. 6.5 million square feet of fabric overall. Photo: Wolfgang Volz. © Christo 1983. Courtesy of PAMM.
Christo talks about the unique art installation that had a major impact on Miami. Courtesy CBS Miami.

PAMM hosts for Art Week two new exhibits: José Carlos Martinat’s large-scale light sculptures that borrow signs and symbols ranging from historical images to popular internet memes, and artist and filmmaker Pedro Neves Marques’ first solo museum presentation featuring speculative short films inspired by the Zika virus.

José Carlos Martinat created American Echo Chamber (2018), an installation that responds to the amplification and reinforcement of ideas in the current social and political landscape. This large-scale work is composed of mechanical light sculptures that collectively generate a dramatic and entertaining space for visual consumption. Exhibit December 4, 2018 — January 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of PAMM.
A Mordida (The Bite), Neves Marques’s presentation includes the premiere of two newly commissioned short films. Based on research completed at a genetically modified mosquito factory in São Paulo, Brazil, the artist creates a set of intimate stories, both present-day and futuristic, fictional and documentary. December 4, 2018 — July 28, 2019. Photo courtesy of PAMM. For schedules, directions and further information:

Art Miami And Context

For further information: Photo courtesy of Art Miami.

Art Miami is the preeminent art fair in America for modern and contemporary art. For this 29th edition, it showcases internationally recognized works from the 20th and 21st centuries in collaboration with over 100 world galleries. Participating galleries range from Seuls’ Art Project and Zurich’s Laurent Marthaler Contemporary to Galerie Raphael, Berlin, and Vallarino Fine Art, New York.

Art Miami’s sister fair Context is dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists. About one hundred international galleries vetted by the Context Art Fair Selection Committee will exhibit highlights from their gallery programs, solo artist exhibitions, and curated projects.

Art Miami and sister fairs Context Art Miami, and Aqua Art Miami will kick off on December 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of Miami Art.

Art Meets History

Miami’s historic Downtown will host a myriad of events. For the first time, more than 10 independent events will be held within blocks of each other, activating historic architectural treasures such as the Alfred I. DuPont Building (1936), the Olympia Theater (1926), Walgreens (1936), Burdines (Macy’s), and MDC Freedom Tower (1925).

“The events are independent, but the proximity offers a more urban approach to art than the large art fairs,” says Terrell Fritz, Executive Director for the new Flagler Business Improvement District (BID).

Featured Historic Downtown Events

RAW POP-UP will activate the abandoned Macy’s department store, the former Burdines, to create multisensory pop-up experiences of art, music, architecture, and technology. Disrupting the “look-don’t-touch” boundaries found in the traditional art context, RAW POP UP encourages visitors to dive into new and ephemeral experiences where people actively influence art.

The official word: Over 80 local and international creators, performers, and musicians collaborate to transform 43,000 sq ft in an abandoned department store for you to explore. Through immersive performances and interactive art installations, you are asked to rethink your values and question your modern ways of living, inducing nostalgia of a time that has passed us. After evaluating your values in our abandoned department store, find yourself in ALT_Future, a dystopian nightclub where the future is unknown, brought to life by live performances and DJs. The future is what you make of it. What will it look like? Find the answers on the dance floor until the early morning.
Mana Contemporary Miami, at 777 International Mall. 143 E Fagler Street.

Mana Contemporary Miami presents a full week of exhibitions, performances, musical installations, fashion shows, and other happenings in partnership with local and visiting artists and arts organizations.

Highlights: “Mundo mio,” an immersive puppetry experience by Poncili Creación. “Lucky Me!,” Tschabalala Self’s site-specific installation at Lee’s Deli & Market.

The Olympia Theater will screen HBO’s The Price of Everything, a new documentary directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn that explores the status of art and creativity in late capitalist society. This event is free and open to the public.

Screening — Wednesday, December 5, 6:30 PM. Location: Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler Street

Silverspot Cinema assembles leading global innovators in journalism, filmmaking, virtual reality, augmented reality, immersive theatre, technology and interactive art for the 6th annual FilmGate Interactive Media Festival. Silverspot Cinema, Downtown Miami, 300 SE 3rd Street.

Work by Paula Wilson. She received her MFA from Columbia University in New York and has been featured in group and solo exhibitions in the US and Europe. Courtesy of Prizm. Alfred I. DuPont Building, 169 E. Flagler Street.

The DuPont Building presents Miami of Tomorrow, a public art project installed in the lobby of downtown Miami’s historic DuPont Building. It is the result of a unique collaboration between EXILE Books and Lemon Yellow, in partnership with Tiliarts. Unique Posters activate the lobby’s back-lit poster boxes, formerly used for advertising, to create a series of high impact text pieces. The work gradually transitions from one color gradation to the next in response to the architectural surroundings.

Also at the Dupont, Prizm Art Fair, presenting a global program examining the articulation of narratives in Africa and the African Diaspora through varying degrees of currency; the most overt being economic currency, but also, cultural, social, political, and even spiritual currencies.

The Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Collaboration with Mana Contemporary, December 05 — December 09. Location: 32 SE 1st Street & 200 E Flagler Street

Juxtapoz. Now in its second year, the partnership between Mana Contemporary and Juxtapoz Magazine continues to bring extraordinary programs to Flagler. Featuring installations and other works by First Amendment, Scott Campbell’s SAVED Gallery, Martha Cooper, Nychos, 1UP Crew. Pt.2 Gallery, Lucy Sparrow, Subliminal Projects, Superchief Gallery, Keiichi Tanaami, Laurence Vallieres, Axel Void and Void Projects, and Marina Zumi, plus a Juxtapoz Projects pop-up show by JakPrints, a pop-up lounge by The Flower Shop, and an all-Mexico City group exhibition.

HistoryMiami Museum presents Miami Street Photography Festival 2018, an international photography festival showcasing the best of contemporary street photography, and featuring the work of professional and emerging photographers. The Conversation Series on the genre features Meryl Meisler, Peter van Agtmael, Stella Johnson, Nick Turpin, and Constantine Manos.

Speaking of history, commented Christine Rupp, DHT Executive Director: “The Downtown Miami Historic District offers the most exciting opportunity for historic preservation in South Florida. To have so many of these spaces activated for Miami Art Week is a unique way to raise public awareness of the importance of Miami’s original Main Street. You can experience all this art where Miami began.”

For a full schedule of events, please visit the Facebook Event Page for Miami Art Week in the Flagler District.

The Miami River Art Fair

Lastly, the Miami River Art Fair, the international contemporary art fair, will take place at the Downtown Miami Convention Center inside the James L. Knight Center. “Conceived as a showcase for world-class galleries, artists and projects in an indoor booth-setting at the Riverfront Hall. This grand space overlooks the one-of-a-kind outdoor Riverwalk Sculpture Mall featuring monumental sculpture on the banks of the Miami River. For further information:

Final Words

Art celebrates human creativity. And “creativity,” said Albert Einstein, “is contagious, pass it on.”

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