FITZ & CO CEO Sara Fitzmaurice's Guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2019

Heading to Miami for Art Basel this year? From well-established fairs and annual parties to new festivals and activations, there's no shortage of art, design and cultural events to have on your radar. With so much on this year, we asked Sara Fitzmaurice, CEO and President of FITZ & CO—which has represented Art Basel since 1996, and helped to launch Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2002—for her guidance on what not to miss. 

Art Basel is settling into its second year in the massively renovated Miami Beach Convention Center, which was revealed last year opening up new spaces within the 21st century facility. There’s lots of buzz around the debut of Meridians, Art Basel Miami Beach’s new sector for large-scale installations and performances, which will occupy one of those large new spaces. Meridians will undoubtedly be a special highlight of this year’s fair and is sure to add an exciting new dimension to the show (both literally and figuratively). While there are several standout projects to look out for, I’m particularly keen to see the array of new works in the sector, including: a ceramic work by Miami-based artist Woody De Othello, co-presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco) and Karma (New York); the latest iteration of an ongoing installation by Laure Prouvost presented by Lisson Gallery (London, New York, Shanghai), and a major painting by John M. Armleder presented by Almine Rech Gallery (Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Shanghai).

David Castillo Gallery presents Varla TV (2018 - 19), a monumental installation by Pepe Mar at Meridians

Having served on the board of the Public Art Fund in New York for the last 15 years, I am a big supporter of public art because it allows general audiences to “happen upon” and experience art in an authentic and sometimes surprising way. There are a number of public art projects happening during Miami Art Week and below are two that stand out:

Les Lalanne at The Raleigh Hotel | Free and open to the public through February 29, 2020

Visitors to Miami Beach’s boardwalk can discover a lush, new tropical garden designed by architects Peter Marino and Raymond Jungles, filled with the whimsical sculpture of the late French artists Claude Lalanne and François-Xavier Lalanne. Presented by real estate developer, investor and philanthropist Michael Shvo, Les Lalanne at The Raleigh Gardens is a nod to the Raleigh Hotel’s epic past as an icon of culture and style, and a tribute the profound artistic legacy of Les Lalanne. The exhibition and gardens are free and open to the public through to February 29, 2019. It is the second time Shvo has collaborated with renowned architect and fellow Lalanne collector Peter Marino on a public art project celebrating Les Lalanne, following the much-loved Getty Station project in West Chelsea, New York in 2013. The exhibition brings together more than 40 exceptional Lalanne works from the collections of Michael Shvo, architect Peter Marino, Andy Warhol muse Jane Holzer, and gallerists Paul Kasmin (New York), Ben Brown (London and Hong Kong) and Jean-Gabriel Mitterrand (Paris).

Les Lalanne at The Raleigh Gardens, Courtesy SHVO Douglas Friedman

Order of Importance by Leandro Erlich | Commissioned by the City of Miami Beach, curated by Ximena Caminos in collaboration with Brandi Reddick; Beachfront at Lincoln Road, December 1 – 15

If you ever needed an excuse to get to the beach, then Leandro Erlich’s monumental new work for the City of Miami Beach is it. Curated by artistic visionary Ximena Caminos in collaboration with the City of Miami Beach, Order of Importance is a playful and surreal installation, which recasts the 21st century traffic jam on the beach as 66 life-sized sculptures of cars-cum-sandcastles on an imaginary highway. It’s the City’s first temporary art commission and will be on public view through December 15.

Order of Importance, Courtesy Greg Lotus

BMW x Miami Art Week

Miami Art Week is always stimulating visually but also intellectually, and BMW is always a leader in that field. At the 2019 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach, BMW Art Journey winner Zac Langdon-Pole will present new artwork, and will also celebrate his book premiere at Soho House Art Talks; Langdon-Pole will be joined by visual artist Sanford Biggers and former NASA Astronaut Terry Virts for a panel discussion at Soho Beach House. Later in the week, street artist Spencer Mar Guilburt, joined by visual artist Alexandre Arrechea, will embark on the BMW 8 Series Mural Tour throughout the city of Miami, documented digitally on Instagram via @bmwgroupculture. As a long-term global partner of Art Basel, BMW will again offer its VIP shuttle service.

Museum Highlights

Miami’s public and private museums are some of the best in the world, and this year is no exception with prominent women artists headlining: PAMM has a major show of Teresita Fernández’s works from the mid-90s through today. The Bass is presenting Mickalene Thomas: Better Nights, in which the artist transforms the galleries into a 1970s apartment reminiscent of that of her mother. The immersive experience transports the visitor back to 1970s aesthetic with wood-paneling, faux fur, and period furniture. Mickalene has organized a parallel roster of events including concerts and appearances by guest DJs.

Rubell Museum

I had the opportunity 10 days ago to preview the much-anticipated new Rubell Museum campus in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, less than a mile from its original museum in Wynwood, and it is truly astonishing. Designed by Annabelle Selldorf, it is one of the best art viewing spaces I’ve seen. The opening installation presents some 300 works by 100 artists drawn from the Rubell’s collection of more than 7200 works acquired over 50 years. Highlights include seminal works from today’s art stars that the Rubells acquired early in their careers in the 1980s such as Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Cady Noland and George Condo; outsider artists like the late Miami artist Purvis Young; artists who have been selected over the last 10 years by the Rubells for their residency program including Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Lucy Dodd, Cy Gavin, Sonia Gomes, Oscar Murillo, Sterling Ruby, and Allison Zuckerman; and this year’s artist in resident, the rising star—Ghana-born artist Amoako Boafo. 

And for those who want to get around to all of these highlights, Miami Beach-based Bolt electric scooter offers an easy way to beat traffic. Download the Bolt app, and hop on. With the wide base, you can even ride in heels.

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