The insiders’ guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

The insiders’ guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2017

Seven leading art-world figures open up their little black books to offer expert advice on what to see and where to eat, drink and relax at December’s glitziest art fair


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  • David Gryn, Film & Sound Curator, Art Basel in Miami Beach

‘Some 268 galleries will be participating in this year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach fair (7-10 December), in what will be the 16th edition. My role has been to come up with a programme of films and sound works to accompany it, one of the highlights being Free Jazz Vein, the latest film by Tin Ojeda (presented by 303 Gallery).

‘I’d also recommend the presentation of Blink, Burn  at the New World Center on Thursday 7 December — a collaborative project, consisting of four audiovisual artworks, between New World Symphony fellows and students from the Pratt Institute.

David Gryn suggests staying near the beach, and The Standard is a popular choice among our experts

David Gryn suggests staying near the beach, and The Standard is a popular choice among our experts

‘My advice to visitors is to stay on or near the beach, as it means — even if you’re working non-stop all week — you can, at least, see the sea. Staying near the fair also means there isn’t the risk of being stuck in traffic or being late — two of my pet hates.

‘For shopping, there’s a plethora of options to explore on Collins Avenue, though my true love in Miami is losing myself in the Lincoln Road Antique & Collectible Market, which has the added advantage of being open on Sundays.’

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  • Ellen Salpeter, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA Miami)

‘On December 1 the ICA moves into its first permanent home: a 37,500-square-metre new building in the heart of the Design District — and a major addition to Miami’s cultural landscape.

The ICAs 37,500-square-metre new building in the heart of the Design District
The ICA's 37,500-square-metre new building in the heart of the Design District

‘The centerpiece of our inaugural program is The Everywhere Studio, an exhibition looking at the significance of the artist’s studio from the post-war period to the present day (with a focus on Picasso and Yves Klein, among others). We’ll also have a number of site-specific commissions for the sculpture garden and throughout the building’s three floors.

‘Also well worth seeing in the area is the De La Cruz Collection (next door) and Spinello Projects (a terrific gallery). Beyond the art, I often recommend people to simply rent a Vespa scooter and tour Miami Beach on two wheels.

‘When it comes to restaurants, two options in the Design District stand out: Mandolin Aegean Bistro and the recently opened Ghee Indian Kitchen.’

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  • Jessica Goldman Srebnick, Director of Wynwood Walls

‘Every year, the week of Art Basel is — without fail — thrilling, inspiring and exhausting. The fair itself is held in Miami Beach, but the city’s authentic creative centre is Wynwood. An exploratory walk through the neighbourhood is a must on any visitor’s to-do list, starting with my own space, Wynwood Walls, the largest outdoor street art museum in the world — and a continuously evolving one at that. This year we’ll be introducing 12 new murals.

Wynwood Walls, the largest outdoor street art museum in the world
Wynwood Walls, the largest outdoor street art museum in the world

‘As far as time allows, I also love to visit the satellite fairs, Pulse and Scope, at this time of year. They’re great for the first-time buyer, showcasing emerging and less expensive options for a new collector.

‘For a glitzy, sexy hotel experience, I’d recommend staying at The Edition; for a boutique, Art Deco experience, I’d go instead to The Hotel of South Beach.

‘If you can somehow squeeze an extra day onto your visit to Miami — or even just an extra evening — I’d recommend a sunset sail on Biscayne Bay, Asian dinner at Naiyara in Miami Beach and a drink at the Soho Beach House. Sheer perfection.’

Relax in style in the sandbox at The Edition

Relax in style in the sandbox at The Edition

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  • Dominique Lévy, co-founder and partner of Lévy Gorvy gallery

‘This will be my 10th year showing at the fair, and I’ll be at the Lévy Gorvy booth (E6) showing works by Chuck Close, Robert Motherwell, François Morellet and more. I am certainly hoping to find time to visit the new ICA building too — it’s a must-see, with an incredible exhibition program, including The Everywhere Studio (see above) and also the first ever museum presentation of Wet Night Early Dawn, the historic series by Senga Nengudi.

Domique Lévy recommends the Argentine tenderloin at Los Fuegos at the Faena

Domique Lévy recommends the Argentine tenderloin at Los Fuegos at the Faena

‘Dine at Casa Tua, which is right on Miami Beach. Los Fuegos at the Faena is also exceptional — make sure to try the Argentine tenderloin. Often I stay with friends in Miami, but if not, the Faena Hotel is beautiful. I recommend visitors find a place right in the heart of the action, which is to say in Miami Beach. For me, it’s best to be right near the fair.

Alchemist, a store located atop a car park designed by Herzog & de Meuron

Alchemist, a store located atop a car park designed by Herzog & de Meuron

‘An ideal 24 hours in the city would surely start with a swim in the ocean; include shopping at Alchemist, a store located atop 1111 Lincoln Road (a remarkably elaborate car park which was designed by Herzog & de Meuron); and perhaps end with a late drink at Delano’s Rose Bar.’

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  • Nina Johnson, director of Nina Johnson contemporary art space

‘At my own gallery, I’m delighted to be showing Katie Stout — definitely a name to watch out for — in what will be her second solo show with us. Farther afield, I always love Design Miami, as well as NADA, a truly energetic fair with excellent galleries, which returns to Ice Palace Studios this year.

‘In terms of museums, I’d suggest the Perez (PAMM), where the Dara Friedman exhibition should be a major draw. This year, there’s also great excitement about the opening of the ICA.

Toast a fine day of art at the rooftop bar of The 1 Hotel

Toast a fine day of art at the rooftop bar of The 1 Hotel

‘My favourite hotel in the city is The Standard, where it’s hard to beat a night-time swim, spa treatment and green juice at the juice bar.’

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  • Sarah Harrelson, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Cultured magazine, Miami

‘In October, following a $12 million renovation and expansion, the Bass Museum reopened with two wonderful shows (by Ugo Rondinone and Pascale Marthine Tayou). During the time of Art Basel, Mika Rottenberg will have a solo show there, too.

At the Bass Museum Mika Rottenberg, Lips (study #3), 2016. Single channel video installation, mixed media. Edition of 6 with 1 AP. © Mika Rottenberg. Image courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Photo by Pierre Le Hors
At the Bass Museum: Mika Rottenberg, Lips (study #3), 2016. Single channel video installation, mixed media. Edition of 6 with 1 AP. © Mika Rottenberg. Image courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Photo by Pierre Le Hors

‘The exhibition put on by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch at the Moore Building in the Design District each year is a must, as they always bring together a great group of artists. For 2017, one of those is Torey Thornton, who’s also on the cover of our latest magazine.

PAMM, meanwhile, has a fabulous Dara Friedman show; the ICA also just opened in the Design District… There’s just so much to see!

Sarah Harrelson, founder of Cultured magazine, is one of a number of our experts to advise dining at The Mandolin

Sarah Harrelson, founder of Cultured magazine, is one of a number of our experts to advise dining at The Mandolin

‘I tend to advise visitors to eat at Mandolin, where you feel as though you are in the south of France; to drink at the beautiful, Chad Oppenheim-designed Forte dei Marmi; and to shop at The Webster, at Bal Harbour Shops, which is owned by the ever-chic Laure Hériard Dubreuil, who has actually just launched her own clothing line.

‘For those in need of a break from it all, I suggest heading to the greenery of The Kampong, the botanical gardens in Coconut Grove.’

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  • Ana Maria Celis, ‎Vice President & Specialist, Post War and Contemporary Art, ‎Christie's New York

‘I love heading down to Miami Beach each year because it’s kind of a spectator sport for me. We at Christie’s are not showing or selling anything, and I just like to take this opportunity to engage with collectors and talk about art, which is what I love to do the most. It’s also an important time to take a look at what is being shown, and hear what is selling and what isn’t. As auction-house specialists, we need to keep our ear to the ground and use this time to feel out the market, as we gear up towards the spring auctions.

‘Outside the fair, I never miss the three big Miami collections: the De La Cruz, Marguiles and Rubell. They never disappoint. Soho Beach House and 1 Hotel are my favourite hotels, both of them on Miami Beach. The rooms are great and spacious. 

Among my favourite restaurants in the city are Michael’s Genuine and the Mediterranean-inspired Mandolin. I’m also looking forward to trying the London favourite, La Petite Maison, which has just recently opened an outpost.

‘Shopping-wise, I’d say look no farther than The Webster. Spread over three floors, this is one of the best-curated fashion boutiques in the US, and definitely worth the stop between art visits!’