This is not just for old dudes and art collectors anymore.

This event is an absolute feast for the senses, with the focus on art, music, and fashion. Usually held on the first weekend in December, this event draws most of the art world together while collectors and investors snatch up a mind dazzling array of contemporary art. The crowd is an eclectic and international mix of people aged 30 and older. While some find the art crowd to be snobby and pretentious, most of the people here share a genuine enthusiasm for the art itself. Its a great time to be in miami to enjoy a few parties without having to fight crowds of fistpumping teenagers.

The art itself can be highly variable in quality, and usually astronomically priced. Some of it I find puzzling, and unfathomable, for example a white canvas with a single black circle on it being sold for $250k. At the same time, when you find that certain piece that strikes you, it affects you in a personal way, it then has no ascribable monetary value, it becomes permanent and timeless.

Art Basel Miami is also a great opportunity to explore Miami outside the confines of south beach. Thursday through sunday, there are art installations and expos, set up all over Miami, where the art is laid out in a fun engaging way. The ART BASEL main convetion center is enormous, and I don’t recommend going there. It’s staggering size and layout can make it tiring and boring, they also dont have many bars there. The best collections in my opinion are PULSE and SCOPE, in addition to RED DOT, ART ASIA and NADA. These expos are scattered all over the city, and have a cetain focus based on the curator, and they usually feature up and coming contemporary art. The art here is newer, and perhaps if you negotiate, you might be able to afford something. If you’re onto a hot artist, you could easily see your piece double or triple in value by next years Art Basel. If art can ever be considered exciting, this is the place to experience it. These usually run from noon to around 6 or 7pm, here are a few links and a few pics of a few artists that I really enjoyed:

English artist Christopher Bucklow: Cameraless photography exposed using natural sunlight and thousands of pinholes


LA Based photographer Micheal Tierney NASA inspired work.

SF based Jim Campell’s always impressive LED displays.

Art made entirely from US currency

Mark Wagner. Art made entirely of US currency

So if art’s not your thing, you’re still in good shape. Once the art shows wind down, there are industry events, concerts, fashion shows spread out all over miami that can keep you more than busy till the wee hours. Most of the these events are sponsored and open bar, which is key for miami, which as far as I know has the most expensive drinks in the US, with $19 dollars being the industry standard for a cocktail at most south beach bars. Usually there’s a list at the door but with a few average hookups and some fast talking, you can usually obtain a bracelet that get you access. If that doesn’t work I suggest scaling the wall or greasing the bouncers. Don’t forget, you’re in miami, everything you see is negotiable, its all about how bad you want it.

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