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Moore Building exterior, drone shot by Luis Gomez

Miami December Art Fairs Pivot In 2020 Thanks To Covid-19

Miami Art Basel is taking on a new shape this year. Here is everything you need to know about this year’s art fairs and how to preview the new pieces as they migrate to an online-meets-offline experience.
Roxanne Robinson Nov 25, 2020
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For most, the weekend after Thanksgiving signals that holiday shopping is underway. It is for art and design lovers, too, only it's artwork, furniture, and objets on their holiday wish list. Usually they flock to Miami Beach to attend Art Basel Miami and satellite shows Design Miami, NADA, and Art Miami. This year, all but one, Design Miami, is moving online.

Presumably, moving off Miami Beach to the Miami Design District in Miami proper, where social-gathering restrictions are currently less stringent, means Design Miami can host an in-person event. In a statement, the show’s CEO, Jennifer Roberts, acknowledged the challenge of this undertaking, in which guests will be granted access to the fair in small batches and per specific time slots. The show will take place at the Moore Building and run from November 27 through December 6.

“This extended fair will allow a format that offers opportunities for galleries and partners to support their businesses while providing a safe and controlled environment for visitors,” Roberts explained in a statement. She continued, “We’re delighted exhibitors have responded enthusiastically with visionary galleries and designers that make Design Miami so successful each year.” 

Newly appointed global exhibitions director Jillian Choi seconded the approach. “We will present this year an extraordinarily robust showcase of the best in collectible design today, including voices both established and new, and look forward to welcoming our ever-expanding community to this year’s show, both onsite and online.”

The theme of the show seems apropos given the social climate of the past year. America(s) aims to explore what this means to both American artists and those abroad. "Historically, America — whether referring to the United States or the wider region that includes it — has meant many things to many people," explains curatorial director Aric Chen in a statement. "More recently, notions of 'America' have been questioned, challenged, and revised in ways that suggest we are at a critical turning point for what America means, not just to Americans but the world at large." Chen furthers that the exhibition "is not about defining 'American design' per se, but rather aims to examine 'America' as an idea, ideal, and work-in-progress — one that offers multiple narratives, histories, interpretations, and futures."

Held annually at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel’s live show components heralded an unprecedented cancellation tone for other fairs like Art Miami and NADA. All three have moved to an online version. Art Basel will still take place on the previously scheduled December 2-6. Art Miami is joining forces with Context Art Miami for an online showcase that will be live from December 2-20.

Art Basel Miami refitted the show with “OVR,” or online viewing rooms, where galleries and artists worldwide will virtually display their latest creations and installations. Despite the migration online, some art insiders are rumoring to even convene in Miami Beach for “Zombie Basel,” presumably attending off-the-radar underground events, cocktail parties, and dinners. Likely quite to the chagrin of local authorities and Dr. Fauci.

Mexico is one of the localities staging a show open to residents and broadcast online for Art Basel Miami OVR viewers. Limited access will be granted due to Covid-19 restrictions in that country, but a portion of the ticket sales from invite-only in-person attendees will be donated to local museums badly affected by the lockdowns. Ten Mexican galleries will show at Casa Versailles in the Juárez area of Mexico City. Show co-organizer José Kuri, of Kurimanzutto, told Art Basel, "This is a city that is super vibrant, [where] our life happens out on the street, so it's been quite challenging."

Roxanne Robinson
Roxanne Robinson is an award-winning Paris-based American journalist covering luxury and fashion industries with over 25 years of experience. I spent over 18 years at WWD, covering sportswear, accessories and fine jewelry. My career witnessed the shift from print media to the digital age. I gained expert knowledge of the design world, wholesale and retail markets as well as the marketing that supports them. I met endless creatives and business people who create luxury from inception to POS with the consumer. My work has appeared in Forbes.com, BoF, The Hollywood Reporter, CRFashionbook.com, The Jewelry Journal as well in-house publications and websites at Bally, Pomellato, Au Depart and Editorialist.com among others.
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