writer: Agata Mayer
Art Basel Miami is an orgy of luxurious excess, and it always has been. The perfect setting for an international show rich in cultural diversity, offering visitors a selection of premier works from the entire Americas as well as Europe, Asia, and Africa. The main fair itself is wildly profitable – galleries from around the world pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being able to stake out a few square meters of exhibition-hall space. Miami is very special for its link between art and the community. „The community rallies around art creating a unique energy. And art dynamises the community, in a very unique way“ – said Axelle de Buffévent, style director at champagne house Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët. “Art Basel has put art on everyone’s mind. Everyone wants to be involved somehow.” – said Jumaane N’Namdi, Miami gallerist. Art Basel in Miami Beach – the winter meeting place for the international art world – celebrated its 10th edition in December 2011. A record number of fifty thousand collectors, artists, dealers, curators, critics and art enthusiasts - including 150 museum and institution groups from across the globe - participated in the show. This year, on December 4 through 7, 2014 marking its 13th anniversary as the most prestigious art exhibition in the Americas, Art Basel Miami Beach welcomed the international art world to Miami Beach, allowed you to experience rare museum-caliber artworks and performances from both renowned artists and emerging talent from all over the world.

I had a pleasure to take part in this amazing event twice, after hearing it is one of the top events of Switzerland. And it was a truly unforgettable experience for me. Three annual shows bring the art world together in some of the world's most exciting venues: Basel, in the heart of Europe; Miami Beach at the nexus of North and South America; and Hong Kong, the gateway to Asia. Art Basel was founded by three art dealers and connoisseurs of art, also known as Basel Gallerists – Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt and Ernst Beyeler in 1970. Art Basel provides a platform for galleries and their artists, giving them access to an international audience of private collectors, museum directors, curators and public institutions. The dynamic relationships between them play an essential role in today's art world, and connecting the international art community has been Art Basel's goal since its beginning. The shows attract people with an appreciation of Modern and Contemporary art who experience it as a cultural event. In 2002, Art Basel was launched in Miami Beach and it immediately established itself as the premier show in the Americas (North and Latin) and ranks among the favorite winter time events of the international art world. In 2013 Art Basel debuted in Hong Kong. Half of the participating galleries came from Asia confirming desire to build a cultural bridge between Western art world and the Asia-Pacific region.In 2015, BMW and Art Basel will launch the BMW Art Journey, a first-of-its-kind award that enables selected artists to design a journey of creative discovery to a destination of their choice. Inspired by travel and the boundless diversity of places, artists will have the chance to conduct research, discover new ideas and themes, and create new work.

All celebrities want to be here, not only as a star but also as a buyer too. One year, Hollywood actor Brad Pitt popped up in Switzerland at Art Basel. He was a customer of contemporary "design art'' furniture at the Design Miami/Basel fair. A customer and a star attraction at the same time. Another time Leonardo DiCaprio was spotted at Story nightclub, hanging with several ladies until the wee hours of the night. He was also at Basel's VIP opening for serious art buyers, along with designer Vera Wang. Kim Kardashian, Kate Hudson, Emily Blunt, Usher, Victoria's Secret models Karolina Kurkova and Adriana Lima, Beyonce's little sister Solange Knowles, Gone Girl’s Emily Ratajkowski, supermodel Heidi Klum, James Marden and Owen Wilson were amongst guests sipping champagne who walked the red carpet in grand style. Surrounded by art collectors and fashionistas from around the globe. All eyes were on Miley Cyrus and her bizarre private performance, where she smoked weed on stage in a silver wig, sang a duet with a topless woman and sang an original song she said she was inspired to write after her friend's cat spoke to her in a dream. "This year has constantly challenged me, and that's why I started doing art" – she told crowd. Well… In my opinion, the Miami "art extravaganza" always attracted collectors and artists from all over the world, but in this case the real meaning of "art" just fell into a decline.
Clearly, art week is not just about aesthetics, personal enrichment and community building. It is also about enterprise. The 13th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach was all about more new art fairs and just-to-see shows, more record-breaking sales, more CEOs, more luxury properties. But also there was another kind of “more” as well — more spillovers, touch points and art for all manner of South Floridians, from entrepreneurs to pre-teen fashion designers.