In Miami Soil, Art Basel Grew Away From Art

Dec 9, 2012

Forbes Magazine is bringing its curtain down on Art Basel with a searching examination of the art fair's founding idea versus its current evolution.

Forbes writer Tamara Warren concludes that our Art Basel -- though conceived as a New World counterpart to the refined Art Basel of Switzerland -- has become an art industry event rather than a real celebration of art. Not that there's anything wrong with that, she says: it just developed to reflect its Miami surroundings.

'HORRENDOUS': Miami's bad traffic may be a barrier to Art Basel''s future growth.
Credit Robert Morillo

It was always defined by the temptation of sunshine in December, an event set in a semi-tropical town known for its raging nightclubs, boutique hotels and consistent migration of celebrity. For all of these reasons and more the critics are using the Basel metaphor for a discussion about what’s gone awry in art consumption in recent days.  It’s become so big that Art Basel has become a major source of income for the entire Miami Beach community as it continues to spill from South Beach deeper into Miami proper.

But it won't spill much farther, Forbes warns, unless the Miami area addresses the crippling traffic and other infrastructure issues that have already made Art Basel seem maxed out.