Every December, an international crowd of collectors reliably converges in Miami – and it’s not just the legendary art-week parties. The anchor event, Art Basel in Miami Beach (ABMB), the adjacent Design Miami/ fair, and a constellation of satellites events promise fresh material, new exhibitors and more. This is also a landmark year for two of the city’s major museums: the Bass and the ICA are each inaugurating long-awaited new spaces with an impressive roster of exhibitions. And don’t miss Dara Friedman’s mid-career survey at the Pérez Art Museum, where director Franklin Sirmans and Jorge Pérez will be in conversation with game-changing art collector Pamela Joyner on 5 December. The opening events for both are high on our list of must-have invitations, along with the “Factory Party” for Assouline’s Andy Warhol: The Impossible Collection at the W South Beach’s Surf Lodge Bungalow – not to be confused with the recently relaunched Surf Club at the Four Seasons, where the stunning Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar beckons. With an agenda this packed, we have compiled a list of essentials and favourites, from super-convenient air travel to get there fast to museum exhibitions worth lingering over, not to mention a few spots to stay, eat and shop to round out the Miami experience.

INSIDE THE 2016 EDITION OF ART BASEL MIAMI BEACH. COURTESY ART BASEL. 

Miami Art Week: The Essentials

Sentient Jet

COURTESY SENTIENT JET.

First things first. Unless you live in Miami, you need to get there, preferably arriving unfrazzled and according to your own schedule. Flexibility and convenience are key, and Sentient Jet, Sotheby’s North American aviation partner, guarantees both, whether your itinerary is three whirlwind days at Art Basel in Miami or a winter getaway to Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Naples or other South Florida destination. What we love: Sentient’s 25-Hour Jet Card offers hourly rates that are 15 to 25 per cent lower than other providers, plus a slew of complimentary offerings that await on the ground at destinations such as Boca Beach Club and retail offerings like Saks Fifth Avenue, Roberto Coin and Richard Mille.
 

Visit sentient.com/sothebys for details or enquire via email with your travel details and contact information.

Art Basel Miami Beach

XAVIERA SIMMONS, OVERLAY (IMAGE NINE), 2017, IN THE NOVA SECTION OF ART BASEL IN MIAMI. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND DAVID CASTILLO GALLERY, MIAMI. 

The Miami Beach Convention Center has emerged from a major renovation with a spiffy new floor plan, which means larger booths, wider aisles and more lounging and dining space at the 16th edition of ABMB. Among 268 galleries from 32 countries are 20 newcomers, including Anat Ebgi and David Lewis. Exhibitors are divided into eight sectors, including Nova, where you will find fresh from the studio work by Xaviera Simmons at David Castillo and Jackie Gendel at Thomas Erben, among others. In Survey, discover curated art historical solo shows, including the provocative feminist work of Judith Bernstein at The Box and William Turnbull’s totemic metal sculptures at Offer Waterman. In the retrospective spirit is a special screening on 8 December in the Film sector of Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, directed by Sara Driver.

Art Basel in Miami Beach runs 7–10 December. VIP Days: 6–7 December. Visit the ABMB website for hours and VIP information.

Design Miami/

 

CONVERSO GALLERY WILL BRING ALBERT FREY’S SOFA COMPOSITION, 1949, TO DESIGN MIAMI/. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ANDREW NEMIROSKI. 

As the nexus for superstar contemporary designers and historical modernism, Design Miami/ is especially known for offering top mid-century names. This year is no exception, with Converso presenting modular furniture by Palm Springs architect Albert Frey, and both Moderne Gallery and Todd Merrill Studio offering rare pieces by George Nakashima. Among those and other stalwarts are some debuts, notably among the Design Curio projects – environments intended to “challenge familiar design narratives” and interspersed throughout the fair – notably John Keith Russell’s presentation of Shaker furniture, the streamlined American style that has recently made the leap to high design.

Design Miami/ runs 6–10 December. VIP Day: 5 December. Visit the Design Miami/ website for hours and VIP information.

The Institute of Contemporary Art 

NICOLE EISENMAN’S MORNING STUDIO, 2016, AT THE INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART MIAMI

The ICA, which was forged from a split from the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami in 2014, opens in a new building with a 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden in the heart of the Design District. Its inaugural show indicates a serious programme geared toward contextualising contemporary art. The debut show, entitled The Everything Studio, looks at how social changes have shaped the relationship between artist and studio from the post-war years to the present, with work by some notable disruptors from then to now: Andy Warhol, Philip Guston, Dieter Roth, Bruce Nauman, Nicole Eisenman and Andrea Zittel among them.

Museum admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Visit the ICA website for details.  

Around The Design District

VISIT THE GOOP GIFT MIAMI POP-UP SHOP IN THE DESIGN DISTRICT. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY KEN HAYDEN.

While the ICA is a magnet, the Design District has long been a destination for the art crowd, who check out the annual exhibition at De La Cruz Collection. Another draw is the area's high concentration of luxury boutiques, such as Céline and Saint Laurent, and just in time for the holidays is Goop Gift Miami, a Millennial Pink pop-up shop (above) filled with goods from Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website. Along with an array of cashmere goods, you will find giftable Emile Henry ceramic tagines, Parval luggage, Goop x Christian Louboutin shoes and more. Before heading to non-profit space Locust Projects, where a large-scale installation by Nancy Davidson and a solo show of local artist Pepe Maar are on view, make time for a lunch of mezes and grilled sea bass on the shady patio of the Mandolin bistro.

Bass Museum of Art

MIKA ROTTENBERG’S SELF-TITLED SOLO EXHIBITION AT THE BASS MUSEUM OF ART.

Following a two-year expansion that doubled the historic building’s exhibition space, the Bass reopened this autumn with good evening beautiful blue, a gorgeous Ugo Rondinone retrospective that includes a large installation with 52 mirrors; new work by Cameroon-born, Belgium-based Pascale Marthine Tayou, who has transformed the lobby with an LED light environment; and works by Mika Rottenberg, including the US debut of NoKnowsNose, the film and installation she presented at the Venice Biennale in 2015. 

Visit the Bass website for details. The 6 December opening reception for Mika Rottenberg is open to Bass members and Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/ VIP cardholders and exhibitors.

 

To make the most of this cultural destination, check out The Sotheby's Museum Network City Guide to Miami.