BaselMania by the Bay and Beyond in 2010
It's easy to feel bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by BaselMania. That's when Art Basel Miami Beach and many more art fairs and events (even exciting art auctions!) come to Miami Beach and across the bay to downtown Miami and the city's famed art neighborhoods of Wynwood and the Design District.
So much art, so many art fairs, so little time to see it all. What's a curious, engaged collector to do?
First of all, face the music. You can't do it all. Don't even try. One year a savvy collector admitted to me that it wasn't possible to see everything. As BaselMania grows, collectors learn to customize their experience, choosing art fairs and art events right for them.
Start with this simple strategy. Be true to your budget and your passion for art. Decide what you can afford that has lasting value to you. Only you know if the art that you want to live with is painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture--or even objects of design, now that art and design may often merge for talented artists and museum curators.
Make a list of artists interesting to you or use my list and other Artcentric blog posts and columns as a reference. That's the evergreen beauty of the Art Circuits guide, in print and online so you can always find it.
In my former life as a newspaper art critic, I hated having to write top ten lists. Now I don't have to be limited by a silly numbers game. So here is a list of artists to look for during these days of BaselMania.
Allora & Calzadilla, Carlos Betancourt, Hernan Bas, Jose Bedia, Carol Brown, Maria Brito, Charles Burchfield, Tania Bruguera, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Robert Chambers, Lygia Clark, William N. Copley, Marlene Dumas, Michele Oka Doner, Teresita Fernandez, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Gunther Gerszo, Mary Heilman, John Henry, Robert Huff, Isaac Julien, Dorothea Lange, Ruben Torres Llorca, Louise Nevelson, Julie Mehretu, Jorge Pardo, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jesus Raphael Soto, Miralda, Giorgio Morandi, Barbara Neijna, Glexis Novoa, Karen Rifas, Susan Rothenberg, Betye Saar, Fred Tomaselli, Robert Thiele, Joaquin Torres-Garcia
Kevin Arrow, Luisa Basnuevo, Loriel Beltran, Christopher Carter, Elizabeth Cerejido, Susan Lee Chun, Paul Clemence, Tony Chirinos, William Cordova, George Sanchez Calderon, Jim Drain, Christy Gast, Julie Davidow, Ivan Toth Depena, Lalla Essaydi, Naomi Fisher, Fernanda Fragateiro, Carlos Garaicoa, Jaime Gili, Erman Gonzalez, Florencio Gelabert, Jiae Hwang, Geddes Levenson, Hung Liu, Wangechi Mutu, Beatriz Milhazes, Ernesto Oroza, Tatiana Parcero, Guerra de la Paz, Gavin Perry, Ralph Provisero, Lilly Reich, Robin Rhode, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Tal Rickards, Asser Saint-Val, Samantha Salzinger, Andrea Sampaolo, Gabriel Sierra, Raqib Shaw, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Mette Tommerup, Frances Trombly, Bruce Weber, Wendy Wischer
Most of these artists you can find through Miami galleries, museums, institutions, or art fairs listed in the Art Circuits guide. That artwork by so many of these artists is connected to the Miami area is a clear sign of the increasing sophistication and international diversity of the artists congregating here. With so many art fairs converging on Miami, you're likely to find works by these artists in galleries at the fairs, perhaps leading you to other memorable artists you'd like to collect.
In this unsettling financial time, it can be especially critial to do much looking before buying. Develop a relationship with a reputable dealer you like and trust. You should feel comfortable talking with this dealer about the artist's career and museums that exhibit and collect the artwork. Ask if the artist has created any public art.
If you're curious about an artist's materials, ask. You should rarely feel pressured to buy something on the spot, especially when money is tight. You may find something to buy from this dealer after the fair ends. Finding the art you want to live with for a long time is almost like choosing a mate for life. If you wouldn't get married on the spot, why collect art that way?
If an artist's work is sold, ask if something else you can afford is available. Be open to work by another artist the dealer shows you. If you fall in love with art over your budget, consider negotiating payments in installments.
Remember that BaselMania isn't just about looking to buy. It offers art lovers the pure pleasure of looking. Pace yourself.
Exhibits at Bass Museum of Art, Bakehouse Art Complex, de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, The Freedom Tower, Frost Art Museum, Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rubell Family Collection, and World Class Boxing aren't to be missed by out-of-town art lovers. Be sure to find time to see artworks at the Sagamore Hotel on South Beach.
Miami residents can take a breather and see these outstanding private collections and museums--inspirations to curious collectors--after the fairs depart.
There's so much to do and see, that I know I haven't listed everything! I invite readers of this blog to post comments about special artists and events they want other readers to be sure not to miss. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Then, of course, there's the mega fair that started all the mania: Art Basel Miami Beach. Whether or not you buy at Basel, SEE THIS FAIR. It provides a unique snapshot of that mighty colossus called the art world.