MICHAEL EIMGREEN and Ingar DragsetNew Blood, 2011 / Installation / With Helga de Alvear Gallery in Art Kabinett
Ai WeiweiTree / Installation / With Urs Meile Gallery in Art Kabinett / Courtesy of Art Basel Miami Beach

Last 2011, from December 1st to the 4th the Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) fair celebrated its well expected tenth edition at the Convention Center of that city. More than two hundred and sixty galleries representing more than two thousand artists were the result of an exhibition design that integrated three main proposals: Art Galleries (which included a sector named Art Kabinett), Art Nova and Art Positions. Also present were: public art, video and conferences.

The first section (Art Galleries) was the most represented, with renowned galleries of the upmost pedigree in the art world. Amongst the proposals anything could be found; from a Torres-Garcia, represented with emphasis by several galleries; to younger artists, graduates of the New World School of the Arts in Florida, such as Hernan Bas or Michael Vazquez (both of Cuban origin) who work with the Snitzer Gallery, one of the few Miami spaces present at the Fair. Within this section Art Kabinett was included, with about thirty curated samples for the occasion with dissimilar criteria. Art Nova, on its side, summoned galleries that displayed only two or three of the artists on their payroll with recently created pieces. There you could see, for example, a Wilfredo Prieto holding hands with Gelink and Nogueras-Blanchard, or a Blair Thurman, with Galerie Frank Elbaz. For personal exhibits, usually environments created by young artists, it’s Art Positions, which functions as a kind of launching pad or a wide entrance gate. In my opinion, Brazil won the applause in this section, with Paul Nazareth, Cinthia Marcelle and Rosana Ricaldes, presented by different galleries.

If with any one adjective I were to describe Art Basel, I would use “overwhelming”. An immense dizziness –like Rousseau’s whirlwind– is what we experience, when naively; we try to capture everything in a glance. The feverishness that you feel on the days before the inauguration of the event with phrases like “Ready To Art Basel!”, ends up making you collapse.

To all this you must add that this great Fair is the ideal excuse for others to join in the bataola of exhibitions and programs. These are the so called “satellite fairs”, that often come out “better off” given their size and tranquility, so to speak. These events mainly gather around the Wynwood Art District, the Design District and Midtown, the alternative look scenarios that are becoming a must for contemporary art exhibited in the region. Get your card or your pocket ready in order to buy the tickets, because Art Miami, Art Asia Miami, Fountain Miami, Red Dot, Pulse Miami, Scope and Art Zones, not counting the ones located in the Miami Beach area, are all waiting for you.

I can understand Arthur Danto when he told his wife he could not remember any piece in particular; although overall it had seemed a good show. Or I would also subscribe to Mosquera’s thesis that: “biennials are fairilizing, and fairs are biennializing”.

With everything that has been written, I believe that ultimately the assessment is based on very particular interests, it depends on each person’s expectations: the artist’s, the dealer’s, the collector’s, the critic’s, the public’s and the “party hunter’s “. Let’s do a survey and everyone will answer differently.

At the end, everything will fade away with Christmas’ and New Year’s preparations, which do swallow up even our memories.