Thursday, November 19, 2009

Art Basel Survival Guide

Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the 2nd Annual Art Fair Survival Cocktail Party hosted by the Miami Art Museum (MAM). The event took place at the Ecco Lounge in downtown Miami and was a sneak peak of the upcoming Art Basel, which runs from December 3rd to the 6th.

For those unfamiliar with Art Basel: the Miami Beach Convention Center will be transformed into an art exhibition featuring over 200 galleries from around the world. Beyond that, various hotels and warehouses throughout Miami and Miami Beach are also converted into art fairs. Particularly, in an area called the Wynwood District, which normally houses a number of smaller local galleries.

This year there will be a total of 15 art fairs, including Art Basel. What’s more, many local galleries will be open too. As a result, with so many choices, it's sometimes difficult to decide where to go. And it can become costly to attend all the events since most fairs charge between ten to 20 dollars for entrance.

But last night 's Art Fair Survival Party made those choices infinitely easier for me because, upon entrance, I received a goodie bag with VIP passes for at least eight of the art fairs!

In addition, there were representatives from two art fairs – Photo Miami and Design Miami – who explained what can be expected when you attend their fairs. They both made compelling cases on why you should attend their unique events. However, one thing especially piqued my interest: the representative from Design Miami said that the rock band OK Go will be performing at 6:30 on each day of the fair’s duration. Find out more about that here.

But, as far as actual Art Fair Survival advice, I can’t say there really was much of that. Though it didn’t matter. I had a great time sipping on wine, mingling with fellow art aficionados and toying with all my VIP passes.

And since the cocktail party didn’t provide much survival advice, here are some Local Motion Miami Art Basel survival tips:

1. Don’t pay for parking in the Wynwood District. You can find plenty of free parking on the streets. There will be a ton of cops around and your car will be safe.

2. There are actually quite a few free art fairs. For example, the Nada Art Fair is gratis and usually features some interesting and innovative pieces. Also, some of the more ‘alternative’ art fairs – like the Fountain Art Fair – usually offer broke people, like me, a chance at purchasing art. Last year I bought a great print from that fair.

3. Though Art Basel is wonderful, it’s the most expensive of all the fairs. So, if you’re on a budget, just head over to the Wynwood or Design District. You’ll be able to attend two or three fairs for the price of Art Basel.

4. Be on the look-out for free alcohol. Some fairs offer free drinks.

5. Be prepared to do a lot of walking.

6. Make sure to visit the Rubell Family Collection. It’s my favorite local gallery and will be free during Art Basel. The gallery always features a new and exciting exhibit especially made for Art Basel.

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