In my third year of living in Miami and visiting Art Basel, I am more or less an expert on how to consume the 14 massive art shows that comprise Miami Art Week, plus all the parties, pop-ups and more, during the first week in December, without them consuming us all. Here are some tips to get you through December 4-7th in Miami.
Find a list of all the shows and put it in a spreadsheet. I learned this from my good friend Joy. You have to stay organized! Put the name of the show, what days it is running and where it is in Miami. The same can be done for the parties… if you are lucky enough to be invited to them. Best way to be invited is to be a celebrity or buy a ton of art. If not, you may have to stumble upon something good. Which is pretty easy.
Choose an area, and don’t move. Whether its Art Basel at the Convention Center, South Beach, Midtown or Wynwood, there are a lot of locations throughout the City that are super hard to get to and even harder to park at, if you go during peak times. My suggestion, choose an area and stick to it. You will be overwhelmed regardless, so why add traffic and impossible parking to the mix?
Try to get into preview shows. A lot of business and community associations around town are doing preview shows the day or two before Basel actually starts. It’s a very zen way to see the shows without the crowd. Play sick Wednesday or Thursday morning, and you’ll be glad!
Try and take Thursday and Friday off work. This is a luxury I am not taking, but the shows are much less packed during the week… or so I’m told.
Get vitamins. This is where my background in healthy living takes hold. Get some Vitamin B12, D3, Oregano Oil, and Amazing Grass (no friends, marijuana legalization wasn’t passed here) wheatgrass powder to give you an umph. After 2 days of running yourself ragged and too much caffeine, your system may hate you. This is a way to help you push through without adrenal fatigue at the end (or at least a little less). Also, if you can, stock up on some organic fruit (EndlesslyOrganic.com may be able to help you with this!) and KIND bars for snacks. Otherwise, you will get stuck waiting in major lines or worse, binging on way too many biscotti (again, from experience).
Drink water and coffee, but not too much. Art Basel’s satellite shows are notorious for the lack of bathrooms. Wynwood is the worst. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Ditch the heels. There are literally miles of art. While you want to look classy, heels are a terrible way to go. Plus, if there’s some sort of weird interactive bouncy house, you don’t want to leave some valuable Louboutins It’s still Miami after all.
Art Basel is one time a year when you are going to see some seriously strange stuff, and a lot of it is interactive. Get in there! Ride the rollercoaster of deserts or hit the fortune telling cat/hotel up for some sage advice. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
BUY SOMETHING. A lot of artists, gallery owners, restaurateurs, entertainers, hotels, fashion designers, etc, have invested in giving you the creative experience of a lifetime. Give them some love- whether it’s buying an overpriced beer at a pop-up restaurant or purchasing a Warhol. There is something for everyone, so reward those who have given so much time, energy, love and attention to making Miami Art Week the best event of the year.
Support Miami Artists… except Britto: I love Romero Britto, but I’ve already got a couple coffee mugs with his stuff on it. Find the new and upcoming artists like Lebo or Alex Yanes, and it’s really easy to stumble upon less known names in the secondary shows (again, mostly in Wynwood and a few on the Beach). Also, this is where the affordable stuff is, so that’s awesome too.
See you there!