"Awesome" is a word I reserve for a few select things I have experienced, including: walking on the Great Wall of China; seeing my books in print for the first time; and my mom's Reuben sandwiches. Art Basel Miami Beach is also on that list.
It goes without saying that Miami Beach has some of the best people-watching in the world. Art Basel is no exception. You are surrounded by the Beautiful People. You may think you look aaamazing when you leave for Art Basel, but when you arrive, you realize that you are, in fact, a toad. But you don't mind, because you are basking in the beautifulness of others.
The Art Basel main exhibtion is like a huge room filled with one modern art gallery after the other. Actually, that's exactly what it is. The main event is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Yes, there is that much art. Look to your left. Boom. Art gallery. Look to your right. Boom. Art gallery. Now if you're into Renaissance art, this may not be your thing. Unless you like your Renaissance art cut into eight pieces, skewered on a stick, spun around, and spray painted. Then Art Basel might be for you. Okay, even if you aren't into modern art, this is really something to see.
I happen to be a fan of modern art, so I thought it was (and I'll say it again) Awesome. With a capital A. When you walk into Art Basel and immediately identify the International Klein Blue (IKB), you feel right at home.
Not only do you get to experience all this, the tickets are really reasonable. You can get VIP or general admission tickets. We got the general admission tickets, and we saw a lot.
I cannot even begin to explain the caliber of the art. It is top-notch, high-end gallery, one-of-a-kind amazingness. Art Basel Miami Beach is in December. The other Art Basel is in Basel, Switzerland in June. Several times during Art Basel I just stopped and thought, I can't believe I get to live near this.
There are also galleries open along the main drag of Miami Beach, Collins Avenue. We went to one gallery that could best be described as "warehouse fabulousness." It was basically a hotel that had been turned into a two-story concrete exhibition space. With a DJ. Loud house music. Paint cans. Art, art, art. And Beautiful People. Again, awesome.
There is live music every night of Art Basel. One of the live music/art venues is a city park on Collins Avenue. In 2010, there was a performance art installation in the park featuring a three-story river of vodka. Yes, you read that correctly. That was also Awesome. (See a theme here?)
A few tips for your Art Basel expedition. You will see many stilettos. You will eschew the stilettos for (*gasp!*) comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking. A lot.
I remember my art professor telling us about a phenomenon called an "art attack". People touring a vast amount of artwork just kind of... hit overload. Pace yourself. Take a look at the guide and pick out your top galleries. There is food at the exhibition (including sushi and champagne), so you can always park for a bit and then pick up where you left off. And Art Basel Miami Beach is open from noon to 8 pm Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 6 pm on Sunday during the first week of December. So you can always come back the next day.
Oh, and if you and your partner get lost easily, set up a meeting point (ie. the food stuffs) and time before you venture into the art. Calling your honey on your cell saying "I'm near the purple metal sculpture with the whirligig on it" does not make you more easily locatable.
And after you see the art and listen to the live music, there is also Awesome food available all over Miami Beach.
Experience the fabulousness: www.artbaselmiamibeach.com
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