IIt’s easy to feel bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by BaselMania, when Art Basel Miami Beach and over 20 more art fairs come to Miami Beach and across the bay to Miami’s art districts of Wynwood and Midtown.So much art, so many art fairs, so little time to see it all. What’s a curious collector to do?

First of all, face the music. You can’t do it all. Don’t even try. Last year a savvy collector admitted to me that it wasn’t possible to see everything. As BaselMania grows, collectors must customize their experience, choosing art fairs and art events right for them.

Start with this simple strategy: Be true to your budget and 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 often merge for talented artists and museum curators.

Make a list of artists interesting to you or use my list and other Artcentric columns as a reference. That’s the evergreen beauty of the Art Circuits guide, in print and online so you can always find it. I’ve always hated trying to write top ten lists. Now I don’t have to be limited by a silly numbers game. After having coffee with my publisher Liana Perez, I wrote my own list of over 20 artists to look for during Basel and beyond.

Renowned Artists

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Romare Bearden, José Bedia, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Carol Brown, Robert Chambers, Lygia Clark, Michele Oka Doner, Gunther Gerszo, Mary Heilman, John Henry, Edward Hopper, Dorothea Lange, Jesus Rafael Soto, Miralda, Giorgio Morandi, Barbara Neijna, Betye Saar, August Sander, Joaquin Torres-Garcia.

Rising Stars

Luisa Basnuevo, Loriel Beltran, Christopher Carter, Susan Lee Chun, William Córdova, Ivan Toth Depeña, Lalla Essaydi, Naomi Fisher, Erman Gonález, Florencio Gelabert, Jiae Hwang, Beatriz Milhazes, Tatiana Parcero, Guerra de la Paz, Ralph Provisero, Robin Rhode, Tal Rickards, Samantha Salzinger, Hank Willis Thomas, Mette Tommerup, Frances Trombly.

Most of these artists you can find through Miami galleries or museums and institutions listed in this 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 visual arts here. With so many art fairs traveling to Miami, you’re likely to find works by these artists at galleries in the fairs, perhaps leading you to other exceptional artists to collect.

In this unsettling financial time, it can be especially important 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 or collect the artwork.

If you’re curious about an artist’s material, 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 you like 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 payment in installments. When times are tough, dealers may be more receptive to this.

Remember that BaselMania isn’t solely about looking to buy. It offers art lovers the pure pleasure of looking. Pace yourself. As usual, exhibits at CIFO/Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, 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. 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 for curious collectors—after the fairs depart.

And when you’re by the bay, look for “Giants in the City,” a promising spectacle of giant inflatable sculptures, at Bayfront Park. Details online at www.giantsinthecity.org

Then there’s the mega fair that started 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

BERND and HILLA BECHER (German, 1931–2007, born 1934): The Concordia Mine, Oberhausen, Germany, 1967. Gelatin silver print, 15 15/16 x 12 in. (40.5 x 30.5 cm). Gift of Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim, 98.96 © Hilla Becher. Courtesy of Norton Museum of Art
Ivan Toth Depeña The Fallen Sky Chronicles: Experiments in Fictional Theory “Sketch 01, Horizon” site-specific, sculptural light installation, 2008. Courtesy of Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
Luisa Basnuevo Untitled 1, 2008 Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Frost Art Museum