Miami Art Week: Is It Worth It?

by Zoe Rayn; Editorial Director

Art Basel: Untitled Booth

Another Art Basel has come and gone! Having experienced both working and attending the famous art week set in the one and only Miami, Florida, I’ve seen first hand the importance (and the lack thereof) that surrounds these annual events. The promise of exposure, networking, inspiration, and just plain fun makes me want to stan this glamorous function, but I still find myself having to ask - what are we all doing here exactly?

Evan Beard poked fun at the blatant classism of the art industry with his piece The Four Social Classes of the Art World late last month (read it here for an uncomfortable chuckle) and I have to say, if you want to see a textbook elitist gathering where you may feel out of place, Art Basel is certainly it. BUT, at that same time, if you’re looking for inspiration, a diverse array of artists, and the rare chance to see an international display of presenting galleries… this is also definitely the place.

Obviously, this is completely subjective and the answer really depends on you and your relationship to the beast that is the international art market. So, while I can’t tell you what's right for you, I can to try and provide some type of helpful insight.

For the sake of ease let’s break this down into a few categories, shall we?

If You’re An Artist

Ahhhhh, maybe?? Maybe not?? If you’re in need of inspiration or want the opportunity to interact with a number of international galleries/Curators the answer is obviously yes. If not, however, I can’t see much benefit outside of a lovely vacation in Miami (which everyone needs, so maybe the answer really is just yes)!

If You’re A Curator/Art Dealer

Duh! This is such a rare opportunity to see an international display of artists and artworks that you would be foolish not to attend. Art Basel is essentially The Mall of America for art and even if you aren’t looking for someone/something specific, it's a prime chance to assess the market up close and personal.

If You’re An Art Enthusiast 

YES, OF COURSE! There’s just so. much. art. to be seen, I can’t imagine not going at least once in my lifetime, even if it’s just to attend to the namesake show.

If You’re A Collector/Want To Start Collecting

This is gonna be a yes/no situation. While I’m kind of kicking myself for thinking this (as a previous Gallery Assistant) you do not need to attend a fair or go to an art gallery to purchase artwork. If you really want to support artists (specifically emerging ones) I’d say do your research and schedule a studio visit and work with them directly. This is a loaded subject though, with many layers to unpack, so we’ll talk more about this whole dynamic another day ;)

Did we find a resounding answer to the question?? Not really! Sorry! I suppose at the end of the day it’s worth it if you want it to be. 

What do you think? Have you been? Did you hate or love it? 

Let loose in the comments below!

**If you’re interested in seeing what sold for what (and want to simultaneously catch a fly or two with your gasping mouth) read Nate Freeman’s overview for Artsy.

Zoe Rayn Evans