10 Rules for Navigating Art Basel in Miami Beach

How to make the most out of your stay.

Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ and Art Basell in Miami Beach.

1. Wear comfortable footwear. Art Basel Miami Beach has 269 exhibitors. And then there’s the 25 satellite fairs, not to mention events at galleries, museums, private collections. Then there’s after parties, and after-after parties. Don’t be a hero.

An Art Basel fairgoer spotted en route to the fair on VIP preview day.

A 2015 Art Basel fairgoer spotted en route to the fair on VIP preview day.

2. Make a plan. There’s just too much art. You can’t see it all, so don’t even try. Instead, make a plan on what you’d like to see and stick to it. A little organization will go a long way.

3. Avoid fair-tigueAre you starting to lose the ability to differentiate between good and bad works? Is every painting, sculpture, and installation turning into a convoluted blob? DO NOT BUY ANY ART. Take a break and have a strong drink, you’ll be good as new in minutes.

4. Don’t be shy. Fairs are a great opportunity to develop relationships with art dealers and galleries, so be curious, ask questions, and be confident. Although some dealers may appear unapproachable, they are always happy to talk about their artists.

5. Don’t drink too much. Remember you’re there for work and networking. Just try not to get lost when you stumble back to your hotel at 3:00a.m.

Art Basel in Miami Beach 2015. Courtesy Art Basel.

Art Basel in Miami Beach 2015. Courtesy Art Basel.

6. Be open. Seize the chance to learn about and experience new genres, ideas, artists, and galleries. Ask yourself what the artist was trying to express, be open to changing your expectations on what art is and what it should look like. Never, ever, under any circumstances say “my five-year-old could have done that.”

7. Do your research. Even if you aren’t (only) there “for the art” you should at least have some kind of idea of you’re looking at, and who you’re talking to.

8. Go to the right parties. Not all parties are created equal; it’s all about being seen, after all. Make sure you’re name is on the list, because you probably won’t get in otherwise.

9. Instagram or it didn’t happen. If you don’t upload a picture of yourself and your favorite artwork in South Beach were you really even there?

10. Have fun. It’s known as the art world’s spring break for a reason. Don’t get too caught up in the grind, and remember that whether you’re in Miami to work, add to your collection, or to socialize—get out there and enjoy yourself.


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