Basel Stories

Holiday spirit in South Florida has been punctuated by art-world buzz since Switzerland's mammoth fair planted itself here. Art Basel Miami Beach has grown, since its 2002 inception at the Miami Beach Convention Center, from elitist trade show to ubiquitous art party. 

All the gallery openings, launch parties and live art installations spurred during what's become Miami Art Week are impossible to keep track of. But we're trying:

See our feature stories for this year's fair and its surroundings in our Basel Stories category, and catch a bit of the pre-Basel happenings in the Before The Fair tab. Anything related to the Perez Art Museum Miami is easy to find under PAMM.

This year, we bring you our #WhatIsArt? project, aimed at testing our boundaries during this festival: If you see a crushed can on the floor, is it art or junk?

And to see how we recommend you spend this week, check out Basel Like Us. For live coverage of the art shows and street happenings we're witnessing, head to the Live From Basel stream.

But if you'd just like to see it all, scroll below.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

When Allison Rojas looks at a painting by Alice Neel, the high-school junior sees more than a seated woman in a purple sari.

“She uses very bold lines as you can see,” says Rojas. “Very fleshy paintings.”

Rojas has an eye that’s been trained in fine-arts classes at Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High. DASH is an arts magnet — consistently ranked among the country’s top public schools — and every year, Rojas and her classmates take a field trip with the school to Art Basel, where she gets to see works like Neel’s "Woman."

Christine DiMattei / WLRN

If you missed out on the annual extravaganza that is Art Basel, not to worry.  A Broward County gallery owner is inviting artists and art patrons to think outside the box – and outside of Miami Beach – when they hear the word “Basel.”

Starting Dec. 12, gallerist and professional artist Tom Rossetti hosts his third-annual, month-long “Basel Broward” event.

 

Rossetti started calling for artist entries for the juried art exhibit several weeks ago.  He says every year, art lovers in all of South Florida get caught up in the Art Basel Miami Beach frenzy.

Basel Recap: What We Saw And Heard

Dec 10, 2013
Wilson Sayre / WLRN

Art Basel 2013 is over. During it, Wynwood and Miami Beach were oozing with art, music, and people (some of whom could be considered art).

Even though some of Wynwood's and Midtown’s satellite art fairs might be pushed out soon, we thought Entitled, Spectrum, Art Miami and Miami Project were great this year. Check out some of them in the pictures above.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Emmett Moore is a South Florida artist through and through. He grew up in Miami and returned after college. That's when he set out to become an artist full-time. It's still early in his career but so far he's making it work: His work has been exhibited at a few art galleries, including Gallery Diet in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.

Brazil ArtFair/Galeria Logo

Brazil has proved itself a global force in soccer and music, architecture and business. But there’s one area where the South American giant has yet to produce a Pelé or a Veloso, a Niemeyer or an Embraer: art.

That seems odd considering Brazil’s richly creative culture and its awesomely idyllic surroundings. Mexico can claim the marquee power of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo; Colombia has Botero. But the Brazilian art scene “is still finding its way internationally,” says São Paulo entrepreneur and art promoter Michel Serebrinsky.

Wilson Sayre

Art Miami, an Art Basel satellite fair, held a symposium this week on women in the arts.

The event was designed to bring attention to inequality between men and women on gallery walls, both the amount of women artists and the value of their work.

By Sculpting Through His Grief, Local Artist Finds Spotlight

Dec 6, 2013
Charles Soto / Instagram

Charles Soto started tattooing four years ago, after his mother died following a long illness.

“[It] was a moment in my life of desperation. I hit rock bottom," he says. "I was dead broke."

Three years later, Soto reconnected with his estranged older brother, just months before the latter died of HIV complications. His grief influenced his art with dark overtones, but also put him in the sightline of a company now displaying his work during Art Basel.

Courtesy of BloggingBlackMiami.com

Miami's massive art event isn't particularly known for showcasing the art of the African diaspora. Babacar Mbow, owner and curator of Multitudes Contemporary Art Gallery, hopes to change that.

Julia Duba / WLRN

If you’ve wandered around Wynwood, chances are you’ve noticed all the murals. And if you wander around there months later, you'll probably notice a lot of them are gone.

And when Art Basel comes around, Wynwood is like a whole new place.

“It’s temporary. It’s just for the moment just so you can feel it and breathe it and do it and then you let it go,” muralist Kazilla says.

She’s painting a piece on the front wall of ABC Costume Shop, a store on Northwest 24th Street near I-95.

Alicia Zuckerman / WLRN

Basel is back in town and the annual artistic spotlight is swiveling around Miami, highlighting nooks and crannies the city normally passes by with nonchalance. Now in its 12th year, Art Basel Miami Beach has not only grown, but changed the landscape of the city and South Florida.

It’s easy to be cynical about the general milieu. I have been snarky about the crowds and traffic before and I most likely will be again. But taking a step back and appreciating what Basel has changed can be boiled down to a few simple questions.

Arianna Prothero / WLRN

What if Mother Teresa had been a war-maker instead of a missionary? What if Gandhi employed violence instead of civil disobedience? Those are some of the questions begged by the exhibit WAR to WAR in Bayfront Park.

The exhibit features not only historical figures known for their humanitarian work, but also artists, entertainers and sports stars. All the figures stand at an imposing, larger-than-life height, and all are flaunting massive firearms.

Wilson Sayre

Art Basel satellite fairs are having a harder time setting up shop in Wynwood and Midtown as the area becomes an established, year-round neighborhood.

Owners of vacant lots and empty buildings tend to prefer long-term leases to short-term ones, which is what many of the Basel fairs rely on. When Lock and Load Machine Gun Experience and Gun Range moved into one of those formerly vacant buildings, it forced Fountain Art Fair to look for alternative spaces.

Miami Muralist's Walls Brighten Art Week With Local Color

Dec 2, 2013
Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

  Art Basel Miami Beach begins Thursday, and although the fair brings in outside art for exhibits not always open to local talent, Miami artist David Lavernia is looking forward to it.

"This is like Christmas for every artist in Miami," Lavernia, 27, says. "Your mind will be blown by all the amazing work you're seeing."

He says Basel's presence every year is "a huge advantage" to Miami artists.