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Art Basel Miami: A Bird’s Eye View of Miami’s Ultra-Luxe, Super-Exclusive Art Week 2022

Art Basel Miami: A Bird’s Eye View of Miami’s Ultra-Luxe, Super-Exclusive Art Week 2022

A beautiful array of paint-produced portraits, carefully curated murals, and meticulously designed sculptures find themselves amongst everyone who is anyone each year during the first weekend in December in Miami. The art-centric extravaganza came about as a way for artists and collectors from around the globe to convene and share their passions over gallery hopping. Fifty years later, the event evolved into a four-day celebration welcoming all who find themselves lucky enough to attend. Each year, Hollywood's Elite, Fortune 500's top executives, Instagram's most flourishing influencers, and the art world's most prized artists flock to South Beach to see their old friends and make new ones, all between bidding over Andy Warhol pieces. There is nothing like it, yet there is indeed something like it. It's called Art Basel.

The original Art Basel came to fruition in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland with hopes of luring collectors from all over the world into their perfectly curated galleries for a weekend of shopping and networking. And, lure, it did- the fair's first year brought in over 16,000 attendees from all over the globe to the small town of Basel. Unsurprisingly, Art Basel Switzerland's success continued to grow year after year, prompting fair organizers to begin the process of expanding to other international cities. In the early 2000s, organizers set their sights on Miami due to its unique and distinct multicultural arts scene. After a few years of planning and enthusiastic approval from local Miami leaders and art collectors, the first-ever Art Basel Miami was held in 2002.

Exactly 20 years later, Art Basel Miami 2022 was the largest to date. Open to the public from December 1-3, 2022, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the fair showcased approximately 283 galleries. Like the past decades, Art Basel took over the entirety of Miami. The art showcases extended well beyond the convention center to showings at local established galleries as well as new-pop-up galleries. Programming at cultural institutions and private collections also showed face in various locations across South Beach. Between the art-centric events that drew everyone to Miami, however, were VIP parties and other invite-only events.

While there is no denying that everyone who attends Art Basel shares a passion for beautiful art, the less-obvious passion sharing revolves around party attending. And while most bond over the similar motivation for attending these parties, it is rare for those who participate in Art Basel to share the same party itinerary as the person they hopped off their jet with. Hundreds of invites for hundreds of parties spam the inboxes of those who are most important. The toughest decision A-listers face each night is deciding between which of the four parties they want to attend most. Sometimes, the choice is easier than others: if you were lucky enough to be invited to the YSL party, you go, no questions asked.

Other times the decision isn't so easy, prompting party invitees to ask themselves which friend they want to support most: is it their DJ buddy Martin Garrix's performance or their renowned artist friend Jeffrey Koon's celebration dinner? We found ourselves as one of those faced with the tough decision. On Thursday night, we opened our inbox to four party invitations, all taking place at the same time. Instead of breaking a sweat, we basked in the tough decision. Call us crazy, but we felt lucky to even find ourselves among the few with this problem. After typing the addresses into the GPS, our decision was made on behalf of the estimated arrival time. Sadly, the parties in Wynwood produced the most exuberant estimated arrival time – predicting an hour and thirty minutes of travel times to go five miles across the bridge.

We quickly learned that the answer to the tough party choice decision almost always falls on the event's location. If the coveted invite lists the location as somewhere on Collins Avenue in South Beach, that's where you'll go. However, if the party is in Wynwood, that's where you won't find yourself (ever). Although it is pretty spectacular to be in the same place as what seemed to be the top .0001% of the world, the traffic was an unexpectedly severe side-effect. If it weren't for the crazily optimistic energy lifting up the entire island, the weight of everyone would have caused South Beach to sink into the crystal-clear water that looked like a masterpiece itself.

Luckily, no sinking took place. But, in the event that did happen, Art Basel Miami would still prevail as the place to be. Much of the event's success can be owed to Miami being Miami. The hotels were extremely accommodating, making sure every door was opened for every guest and every car was valeted with the up-most care. The delectable Michelin-star restaurants were inspiringly prepared, seating everyone who had the wherewithal to reserve a table ahead of time at the time they were promised. And the Uber and Lyft drivers were all tactfully creative, finding the best route for their passengers to arrive earlier than estimated. From the YSL Madonna exhibition built from the ground up on the beach to the Lamborghini x RHUDE event to private performances by the Chainsmokers, the 2022 Miami Art Basel was everything.

Samantha Speiss

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: December 9, 2022.

Photos by Samantha Speiss © 2022. All rights reserved.

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