Art Basel Miami

Since art is recommended as 5% of an investment portfolio, or at least for the high-net-worth portfolio, it's worth a look at what is happening on the contemporary art scene.

There is money to be made in art. Otherwise, there would not be Art Basel Miami, the Frieze Art Fair in various locations or Maastricht located in Maastricht, Holland. Since art is recommended as 5% of an investment portfolio, or at least for the high-net-worth portfolio, it’s worth a look at what is happening on the contemporary art scene.

Oil on wood at the Christina Grajales Gallery, New York

When I arrived at Art Basel Miami, I was skeptical that it could be as good as other art shows that I attended in the last several years. By the end, however, I had revised my opinion.

As far as contemporary and modern art is concerned, this is a blockbuster. It is not one show but multiple exhibits scattered throughout Miami and Miami Beach. Seeing it all is like running a long distance marathon — it takes preparation. For the person who can plan ahead, selecting a few venues that are most germane to her interests is the best, and if there is time, visit the others.

Metal and salt from the Chemoud Gallery, Mumbai

Art Basel Miami is composed of not just one, but many exhibits at the Convention Center. Right across the street is Design Miami, which is smaller, but my favorite. Also, there is Aqua (my second preferred) and Context, also splendid. Plus, there is NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance), Art Brazil, Red Dot, Scope and Pulse. The first two are lower quality with younger artists and we weren’t able to get to the latter three even though we were in Miami for two-and-a-half days.

Painted sheet metal from the Hammer Galleries, New York

Another plus of visiting the art fair in Miami in December is the weather. This year was in the 80s or high 70s with sun and the most pleasant of breezes. Also, the restaurants are exceptionally good; for example, Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen serving Cuban food and Salumeria 104 dishing up Italian. But, I wouldn’t go running to either if they are out of the way — there must be hundreds like them in the vast expanse of Miami and Miami Beach that are also colorful, vibrant and serve good food.

Painted copper from the Heitsch Gallery, Munich

There is a downside of this art scene. Getting a taxi was difficult to almost impossible. One night we waited an hour in a taxi line to go from the Convention Center to our hotel, the Alexander Suites. There is a shuttle bus between main events that is scheduled to run every half hour, but staying on schedule was evidently impossible for the driver with all the extra traffic from the fair. Also, the shuttle doesn’t solve traveling between the fair and hotels.

As to the Alexander Suites where we stayed, we found our ocean suite comfortable and cost effective for Miami. The view was impeccable. In fact, it was worth the anguish over the cab rides.

Oil on canvas from the Kavachnina Contemporary Gallery, Miami

We ate at the Betsy Hotel for lunch one day as it is nearer some of the activities and the hotel also had art with a price tag.

It seems at Art Basel Miami, everything is for sale.