A Day In Miami During Art Basel

by Alex R. Travers

I remember the moment exactly and I’ll probably be thrilled by it again: walking into the massive Miami Beach Convention Center during Art Basel week is overwhelming, exciting, and gripping. Inside the Convention Center are over 250 expertly curated booths designed by leading art dealers from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. There are artworks by more than 2,000 artists and special sections that feature projects by renowned and emerging artists that span way beyond the Miami Beach Conference Center. Bottom line: there’s a lot do see and do in a short period of time. “A Day in Miami During Art Basel” is a useful travel guide including some of my favorite restaurants, shops, galleries, and attractions to look forward to this year.

Art Basel and The Bass Museum of Art collaborate on an exhibition called Art Public that features site-specific projects and outdoor works in sculpture, installation, video and performance. Start off at Collins Park located at Collins Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street, where this year two special pieces are displayed: the Twin Vortexs sculpture by Alice Aycock and the Street Lamp collaboration by Iván Navarro and Courtney Smith. With Street Lamp, light mimics the benches and the benches themselves become lights. The result is a confrontation between the object and the public, as these benches are presented, but unusable.

Right next to Collins Park is South Beach’s W Hotel which houses the top-notch American restaurant The Dutch. December marks the one-year anniversary of their Miami location (the original is in SoHo) and their brunch menu features must-try dishes like pizzette with blue crab, tomato, zucchini, and jalapeno along with a selection of oysters from all over North America. Also, rumor has it that Living Room, the sultry, night-time playground nestled in the lobby of the W South Beach Hotel & Residences, will launch a brand new mixology program under the talented auspices of artistic artisanal cocktail guru, Scott Beattie just in time for Art Basel week. Cheers!

Just around the corner, on 23rd Street and Collins Avenue, is one of Miami’s shopping marvels, Curve. Owned by Vogue 100 member Nevena Borissova, the boutique carries designers such as Balmain, Carven, Lady Grey, Yvonne Sporre, and other high-end designers. Miss Borissova never fails to fascinate. For more shopping, head over to the Delano Hotel to find a unique store called Base, the uberchic boutique by Steven Giles, where you’ll find accessories, music, scents, toys and much more. They even collaborate with brands like Comme des Garçons and Miansai.

Before tackling the Convention Center drop by The Rubell Family Collection. Established in 1964, shortly after its founders Donald and Mera Rubell were married, the impressive space is now one of the world’s largest, privately owned contemporary art collections featuring artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. Not to be missed!

It’s time for the main attraction. Each year, the Miami Beach Convention Center houses the world’s most respected art galleries showcasing their best art. Walk around, get lost, and enjoy! For lovers of photography, be sure to stop by Howard Greenberg Gallery’s booth. For contemporary art fans, don’t miss the booth at UNTITLED which features works by cutting edge artists such as N. Dash, and Ian Tweedy.

For dinner, head west off the main path to one of Miami’s best restaurants, Yardbird. This southern belle, located on 16th Street and Lenox Avenue, can do no wrong! Their Llewellyn’s fine fried chicken is life-changing. It’s a “27-hour” recipe with a half a free-range bird and spicy Tabasco honey. Try it with a “fixin” of macaroni and cheese made with torchio pasta, 5 artisanal cheeses, and a crispy herb crust. They even have an apple glazed bacon doughnut for desert!


Want to tell us your favorite spots to visit in Miami during Art Basel week? Email us at info@questmag.com

For more information on Art Basel Miami Beach, visit their website.