Each December, the American art scene takes a break from business as usual and heads to Miami to partake in the biggest gathering of art fairs in America. As far as the art world goes, Art Basel Miami Beach Week is the ultimate rock concert with plenty of parties, special events and art fairs than is possible to take in. Oh, and lest it slips attention, there are lots of contemporary and modern art too. By now, travel plans have been made, hotels booked, reservations made for early party invites with plenty of room left to improvise and get swept away by last-minute plans.
Each year is a combination of the expected and the new. Here's what you need to know for Art Basel Miami Beach Week 2015:
1. The traffic will be worse than ever because of a bridge closing.
The Venetian Causeway, which connects mainland Miami with Miami Beach, will be closed for repairs. The route is a popular one and is bound to cause trouble for art goers. The pair of cities have teamed up to offer a free trolley system to handle art fair crowds but gridlock is nearly guaranteed. Anticipate extra time for travel and consider grouping art fair and art events according to which side of the bridge you'd like to be on.
Traveling over the water is also possible. Water taxis are available from Purdy Boat Ramp (Maurice Gibbs Park) with a city shuttle linking to Art Basel. The water taxi departs every 90 minutes. Fairs are $15 each way for adults and $10 each way for children 4 to 12 years old. Children under 4 ride free. Discounted fairs for Miami residents are available.
2. A new free trolley service runs between Basel and some satellite fairs.
To alleviate some of the traffic chaos, there will be a free trolley service between the Convention Center and several satellite fairs in Miami Beach and Midtown. There are two routes: an east-west route connecting the City of Miami with the City of Miami Beach via I-195 (the Julia Tuttle Causeway) and a north-south route that runs within the City of Miami Beach to the communities of South, Middle and North Beach.
The east-west trolleys are expected to arrive at each stop every 15 minutes with north-south route trolleys arriving every 30 minutes. The free trolleys will be available from Wednesday (Dec. 2) though Sunday (Dec 6). The service runs 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday and on 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Click here for route details.
3. Free shuttles are offered by the art fairs
Before embarking on your art fair adventures, check in with the website of the art fairs on your list. There may be a free shuttle available to make getting around much simpler.
For instance, a shuttle is offered by Miami Project in a loop that includes Basel, Miami Project and its sister fairs Art on Paper Miami and SATELLITE. Art Miami offers shuttles in two loops. One runs between the art fair and the JW Marriott Marquis and the other runs between Art Miami, Aqua Miami and Basel. The free shuttles run every 45 minutes. PULSE art fair also offers a free shuttle between Basel and its fair in South Beach.
4. Returning art fairs may be in new locations
There's been a switch up among some of the satellite fairs for 2015. If you're on the email list for the fairs you're interested in, the location changes are old news by now. Here's the skinny for those who don't read them.
NADA has moved from the Deauville Beach Resort in Midtown and is now at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in South Beach. Taking its spot is Miami Project, moving again for the third year from its Design District locations. Fridge Art Fair appears in the Holiday Inn Miami Beach and Pinta is now located in the Wynwood District as part of the Mana complex. Red Dot Miami and Spectrum are no longer across the street from Art Miami and have moved nearby in the Design District.
5. New Fairs Debut
X Contemporary, SATELLITE and Art on Paper are all new for this year. All three focus on contemporary art.
6. Looking to plan by geography? Fairs in Miami & Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami, Aqua Art Miami, PULSE Miami, Miami Project, Art on Paper Miami, Fridge Art Miami, Ink Miami Art Fair, NADA, SATELLITE, Scope Miami Beach, Untitled and Fridge Art Fair.
Art Miami, Context, Pinta Miami, X Contemporary, Red Dot and Spectrum (also contains ArtSpot and Arte Cuba Contemporary).
7. The Bass Museum of Art is closed for construction
Don't be surprised to find the doors locked to the Bass Museum of Art. The museum is closed for construction but continues to hold exhibitions and programming off site. Like always, the Public Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach will be presented on the art museum's front lawn.
8. Design District has changed since last year
Changes in the Design District have been afoot since last year's Art Basel art week. Lately, there's been change-up of art galleries with some moving to Little Haiti, where they're jumping into building ownership. Expect to find more restaurants, high-end retail shops, designer headquarters and more. Click here to discover the stores, public art, galleries, restaurant and other businesses located in the Design District.
Hamptonites and fans of LongHouse Reserve may find themselves looking at a public artwork that's familiar: Buckminister Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome, 1979/80-2014.
ICA Miami continues to be located in its temporary location in the landmark Moore Building,. ICA Miami opened there in December 2014 during last year's fairs and is holding special programming and events this year.
9. Anchor Fairs are where you expect them
Art Basel Miami Beach is being held at the Miami Beach Convention Center with Design Miami held nearby. Art Miami and Context stay put in the Design District. Aqua continues to be held at the Aqua Hotel; Scope Miami and Untitled still share the sand in Miami Beach.
10. Parties are everywhere
All of the art fairs having previews, receptions and plenty of fun to go along with the art. Most of the openings take place on Tuesday night with others opening Wednesday night. NADA holds its after parties on Thursday and Friday night; NADAWAVE starts at 10 p.m. and keeps going until its done.
Private invitations have been issued for weeks with RSVP dates either past or approaching. Curious about parties you can't get into? Click here to read ArtNet's list of exclusive art gatherings and parties taking place behind the scene.
Attending Art Basel Miami Beach and the Miami art fairs? Instagram, tweet or Tumblr your art fair moments to Hamptons Art Hub using the hashtag #hamptonsarthub. We're publishing highlights so be sure your memories are included.
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