A record 282 art galleries will descend on the Miami Beach Convention Center for the 20th anniversary of Art Basel Miami Beach, returning Dec. 1-3. But here’s the brutal truth: Art lovers are better off avoiding that contemporary-art tornado like the plague.
The constellation of 14 satellite fairs and pop-ups orbiting Art Basel — collectively known as Miami Art Week — is simply more fun, more soul-nourishing and slightly farther from the feeding frenzy of millionaire art collectors.
The best advice to shrewdly navigate Miami Art Week? Take a cheat sheet with you — this one, for example. Here we’ve laid out what you should know about parking and avoiding the highways and — most importantly — how to skip Art Basel itself and still have a great time.
Heading to Miami Beach? The biggest traffic headaches are interstates 195 and 395, so take the less-crowded Venetian Causeway.
The rest of Miami: Travel during off-peak hours (never Monday-Friday rush hour or weekends) to avoid more stress. Don’t exit I-395 at North Miami Avenue, often clogged with tourists trying to reach Midtown, Wynwood and the Design District, but instead take Federal Highway.
If driving by car: You’ll regret it immediately, since navigating and parking can be tricky when half of known civilization has descended on the area. In Miami Beach, you may get lucky at the 1,460-space 17th Street Garage ($2 an hour for first four hours; $15 all day) across the street from The Fillmore Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave.) Don’t forget to arrive early, though. In downtown Miami, try the Omni Center garage (1645 Biscayne Blvd.; $25 all day) or the Pérez Art Museum Miami garage (1103 Biscayne Blvd.; $15 flat fee, or $11 if you’re a PAMM member).
Need free rides? Uber and Lyft are notorious for surge pricing, especially during weekends, so consider the free Metromover (5 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday), which loops around downtown Miami and hits the Arsht Center for the Performingn Arts, PAMM and the Frost Museum of Science. A free Miami Beach trolley will run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday, with stops every 20 minutes linking Midtown and Wynwood to the convention center.
Use surface lots and street meters: For painless parking in Wynwood, Miami Beach and beyond, download the Miami Parking Authority’s Pay by Phone app. After parking, launch the app, punch in the location number and duration, and you’re done.
Through Dec. 8 at various locations in Miami Beach; free; MBArtsandCulture.org/no-vacancy/
Put this in the category of “Art I Would Visit If I Had Unlimited Energy and Ubers.” Twelve artists create temporary site-specific works at 12 iconic Miami Beach hotels — all likely to be stuffed with tourists — during the third annual “No Vacancy” art show. Participating hotels include Loews, Avalon, The Betsy, Faena and Fontainebleau. For those who aren’t keen on hopscotching from one hotel to the next for the full experience, here are two highlights: Piled on the sands behind the Faena is “Patria y Vida,” a metal mound of 25 white crowd-control barricades, which performance artists Antonia Wright and Ruben Millares say are a statement about the public’s right to peacefully protest. At Esmé Miami Beach, meanwhile, there’s Beatriz Chachamovits’ “Carcass,” a sculpture collection of bleached elkhorn, staghorn, brain and other endangered corals threatened by ocean pollution and coral harvesting in Florida. Visitors may vote for their favorites here, and two winners — to be announced on Dec. 8 — will receive a $10,000 Public Prize by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and a $25,000 Juried Prize awarded by a local jury.
Nov. 28-Dec. 4 at Superblue Miami, 1101 NW 23rd St.; $58 for five bites, $200 for 10 bites; Superblue.com/aero
Yes, the name’s a mouthful, but so is the cuisine. Billed as an “immersive gastronomy experience,” guests don virtual-reality helmets while sampling bites created by James Beard Award-winning chef Chintan Pandya (New York restaurants Semma, Dhamaka and Adda). As visitors eat, the program from digital artist Mattia Casalegno translates those flavors and textures using surreal virtual scenes. The pairing is inspired by F.T. Marinetti’s 1932 work, “The Futurist Cookbook,” which predicted, at the time, that future dining experiences would be utopian and push diners toward higher levels of consciousness. If all this sounds like mystical woo-woo, the pedigree of the artists is not. Bravo “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons “narrates” the experience, scored to an original soundtrack by musician Martux_M.
4 p.m.-3 a.m. Dec. 1-2 and noon-3 a.m. Dec. 3-4 at Wynwood Marketplace, 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; free admission; RSVP via Eventbrite.com for free drink; HiveWynwood.com
This cocktail-fueled concert venue, art lounge and food village pop-up is always a sensory overload, especially for visitors who prefer when live graffiti happens conveniently close to a bar. The four-day free shindig will include the Basel House Mural Festival, in which artists paint on 20-foot shipping containers scattered around the site. Meanwhile, there will be BMX skateboarding and DJs spinning music at thedeck, a nearby dayclub and nightclub. Finally, a night market of local vendors will sling apparel and jewelry alongside food trucks.
Dec. 2-5 at multiple Miami Beach and downtown Miami venues; free-$75, $300-$350 VIP, Filmgate.Miami/09
This ninth-annual bash is all about digital art and embracing the metaverse (aka Mark Zuckerberg’s current obsession), basically an interactive world the public accesses using virtual-reality headsets. The festival is a four-day blitz of virtual-reality screenings, live music, dance performances, filmmaking how-tos and interactive workshops. On the lobby wall of the Frost Science Museum, for example, there’s a digital sculpture that generates random waterfall patterns cascading with brilliant colors. Meanwhile, a Stiltsville Boat Tour will depart from Bayside Marketplace on Dec. 5, with guests onboard donning VR headsets and watching “Stiltsville VR,” a short film about a photographer time-traveling through 100 years of the famed wood stilt houses on the edge of Biscayne Bay.
Through March 15, 2023, at Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th St., Miami; free, but visitors must RSVP via Eventbrite.com for artist meet-and-greets
This group exhibition unites new works by 15 local contemporary artists, such as Edouard Duval-Carrié, Gustavo Oviedo, Carlos Betancourt and Mira Lehr. They’ll be paired with a launch party for “Miami Creative: A Decade of Transformation,” Miami photographer Barry Fellman’s coffee-table book featuring essays and 200 images that capture the region’s surging arts scene over the past decade. The venue will host artist meet-and-greets from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.
In cherry-picking the best Miami Art Week gatherings, naturally we avoided — as should you — almost anything with “NFT” in the title. Runners-up include a photo exhibition marking the 30th anniversary reissue of Madonna’s post-feminist book “Sex” at Saint Laurent in Miami’s Design District (Nov. 29-Dec. 4; free), where some signed copies will be auctioned off to benefit Madge’s Raising Malawi charity.
Another is “@rt By Chimps,” a display of abstract paintings by the talented primates of Save the Chimps, a 150-acre refuge in Fort Pierce, which will swing into New World Center in Miami Beach (7-11 p.m. Nov. 30; $250).
7 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 1 at MAPS Backlot, 301 NW 23rd St., Miami; free with RSVP at ultra-courtside-miami.rsvpify.com/
The Weekender – South Florida Events
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
21 Savage, the Grammy-winning, British-born Atlanta rapper who three years ago made headlines for his arrest by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will perform a set with the Miami Heat’s DJ Irie. The occasion is the release of the beermaker’s 2022-23 Michelob ULTRA NBA Team Cans, and the event is also expected to feature appearances by NBA legends Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton, WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, and NBA skills trainer Chris Brickley. Admission is free but arrive early, as it is first-come, first-served.
Doors open 6 p.m. Dec. 1-4 at Skatebird Miami, 533 NE 83rd St., Miami; $30-$125 via Tixr.com; LegendsOnly.Live
A four-day art and music celebration, Legends Only will feature live graffiti paired with multiple hip-hop and reggae acts, including Jadakiss (Dec. 1), Curren$y with Smoke DZA (Dec. 2), Westside Gunn (Dec. 3) and Inner Circle, Ky-Mani Marley, Maffio, Kulcha Shok and Dubwise (Dec. 4).
Doors open 5 p.m. Dec. 1-4 at Wynwood Marketplace, 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; $105 for festival pass via Dice.fm
Nightclub icon Club Space recently shut down its Little River satellite venue, Space Park, but they’ll be popping up inside Wynwood Marketplace for an electronica festival led by sets from Diplo, Axel Boman, Claptone and Honey Dijon.
Dec. 1-3 at Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; $50-$175; 305-949-6722; ArshtCenter.org
A stunning reminder of Africa’s role in World War I, this hybrid epic work from South African artist William Kentridge is a ferocious spectacle of multimedia. There are multilingual monologues, 100-year-old African music, shadow play, live theater, dance and projected drawings that weave colonialism and the forgotten stories of African porters and carriers who hauled heavy supplies for British, French and German forces. In addition to evening performances, there will be a 2 p.m. Dec. 3 matinee followed by a 30-minute, Q&A session with Kentridge and his collaborators.