Art Basel Prep Kit & Survival Guide

So you’re gearing up for Art Basel Miami December 6th-9th?

Get ready for art collectors and intellectuals from around the globe to flood the Wynwood Art District’s mural-covered streets. The style on South Beach will be punctuated with contemporary, up-and-coming artists looking for their big break. We’re here to help with your preparations for the forthcoming week full of unbelievable experiences you are destined to have.

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Starting with the essentials, pack like you’re going to the beach. Water, sunscreen, flippy floppies, and all the other essentials. Keep in mind that bags over 16″ x 8″ x 16″ will be required to stay at the coach check so remember to keep your bag size reasonable. The show is held in the Miami Beach Convention Center, but you’ll be spending plenty of your down time outside. It’s finally time for you to break out that chique swimsuit you’ve been waiting to model. You might even run into Ryan Gosling or other A-listers who have been spotted at Art Basel in the past. Let your fashion flag fly, baby!

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You can find a list of the official Art Basel Miami Beach hotels here. Let’s assume you’re not rolling in the Benjamins, though. Any option you choose for lodging is going to cost you a pretty penny. More affordable options through Airbnb can be found right over here. Those prices could very well be inflated around Art Basel, but we wanted to present you with the option anyway.

Public Access

While I’m sure that you’re aware, tickets to the Convention Center start at $50 per person. However, Collins Park provides some free entertainment that is open to the public. In collaboration with the Bass Museum, the park will be full of sculptures and site-specific installations. Another free option would be walking around Wynwood, which is one of the largest open-air districts


The show is located near both the Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL) so either option is fine if you have to travel from another state. There is some good news if you want to attend but find yourself on a tight budget. In an effort to make the art fairs more accessible, Miami and Miami Beach have teamed up to offer a free shuttle that connects to the existing free transportation and art shows in each city. If you’re not into renting a car, Uber and Lyft are also great options for getting around.

Things To Know Before You Go

  • There are different price variations for enjoying the show, many of which can accommodate different budgets with student, senior citizen, and group discounts.
  • Visitors with disabilities are absolutely encouraged to come and celebrate. The Miami Beach Convention Center has taken all the necessary steps to ensure that it is accessible to those with disabilities. Manual wheelchairs and scooters are available and are first-come, first-served at the information desks.
  • Personal photography is permitted, just don’t be a jackass to the artwork or those around you!
  • Keeping tabs on social media tags like #artbasel, #ArtBaselMiami, and #ArtBaselCities can help you find out which booths not to miss. Be sure to share your own faves and experiences too!
  • If you feel so inclined, guided tours are available to get the most knowledge and information out of your experience.
  • There are lots of programs that surround the fair such as the Conversations series, worth building your browsing schedule around or keeping in mind for when those feet need a break! Drop in on these talks at the Miami Beach Convention Center’s auditorium, in the West lobby.
  • Downloading the Art Basel app will help you keep track of artists and works that enjoyed at the show. In addition, you can follow artists and even get updates when new works by them are released.
  • If you’re bringing children, there is a free playroom that is available while you tour the show.
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Tips for Collectors

  •  If you’re considering buying some art, make sure that you really want to buy the piece. It can be easy to be influenced by other people and end up making a purchase that you’re not 100% sold on yourself. Taking some extra time can help ensure you’ll be happy with the piece for the long haul.
  • In addition (and contradictory) to my last tip, if you are considering buying a piece, don’t wait too long to make a move! If you’re mulling over a piece, you can put it on hold until you make your final decision, but it doesn’t guarantee it will be yours.
  • Keep smaller fairs like Pulse, NADA, and Untitled on your radar. These smaller fairs are often filled with up-and-coming artists whose careers could use the extra boost, and whose price points can be more accessible.
  • Stick to your budget. The atmosphere of the fair and collecting can feel exciting, which may result in a pressure to buy more than you originally wanted to.
  • Note your favorite artists (easy to do in the Art Basel app!) and follow their work even after the fair.

Who’s Going to be There?

Obvs there’s going to be way too many artists to list who all will be there, but here are a few artists to get you excited. If you are interested in the full list of artists who will be featured at the show you can look here.

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Alfonso Artiaco

Gilbert & George

Name a more iconic duo… I’ll wait. Gilbert and George have always had an anti-elitist standpoint, which makes their work accessible to all types of people. They’re known for performance art, bright and bold graphic-style art, and looking properly British at all times.

Lawrence Weiner

One of the key figures in conceptual art during the 1960’s, Lawrence Weiner works primarily with shapes and typographic texts. Weiner’s work will leave you scratching your head and drawing your own conclusions about the meaning, which is what art is all about to be honest.

Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt is credited as the founder of minimal and conceptual art, so he’s basically a huge deal. He is known for his paintings, sculptures, and drawings. His style is a clear influence to many printmaking and street artists, so come see the real OG’s work at Art Basel!

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Barbara Thumm

Teresa Burga

We all love digital media, right? Well, Teresa Burga multimedia conceptualist pieces make her a precursor for instillation, technology-based, and media art… talk about a woman ahead of her time!

Anna Oppermann

A prolific collector, Anna Oppermann is known for her “Ensembles”. These works are comprised of scraps of paper, photographs, and notes. Often in large scale, these works should truly be experienced in person to experience the visceral reaction that Opperman’s work evokes.

Fernando Bryce

Calling all history buffs! Like many artists, Fernando Bryce tells a story with his art. As they say, the truth is often stranger than fiction and Bryce’s work explores the in’s and out’s of history. With a graphic novel and newspaper feel, these works are an intricate and stunning way to experience history.

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Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson is an artist that gathers inspiration from the world around him to create his pieces. His work often uses water, air temperature, and light to create beautiful installation art and sculpture. His work is dramatic and large-scale, so experiencing it in person would be amazing! Brb, buying my plane ticket to Art Basel…

Tomas Saraceno

Delve into the obscure and otherworldly mind of Tomas Saraceno. Often defying gravity, Tomas Saraceno’s work is breathtaking, offbeat, and innovative. He explores the use of webs, floating sculptures, and the origin of the universe.

Sean Kelly

Isle D’Hollander, Works On Paper.

Ilse D’Hollander, Works On Paper. Image courtesy of the Estate of Ilse D’Hollander.

Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic, who has coined herself the “grandmother of performance art”, always has some surprises in store for her audience. She has been creating art for over four decades, and is constantly pushing the boundaries.

Ilse D’Hollander

Despite being on this earth for a very short time, Ilse D’Hollander managed to create a deep and intimate relationship between herself and her work. Her work has been praised and deemed reminiscent of Mondrian’s early work. Her use of scale, composition, and color really showcase her raw and effortless talent.

Jose Davila

Drawing inspiration from his knowledge of architecture, Jose Davila creates gravity defying sculptures with basic elements such as glass and marble. Creating hard lines and geometric shapes, his work is an impressive combination of architecture and fine art.

If you were unsure about Art Basel before this section, I’m positive you agree that there are going to be so many iconic and talented artists there. It is truly a hub for some of the most talented people throughout history as well as the present. There is something for everyone in this show and you might even discover some new favorite artists!

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If That’s Not Enough Art For Ya…

Whether you’re attending the show or not, there are still a ton of artistic stuffs that surrounds the show. Pop ups such as Raw Pop Up and Now or Neverland: Ode to Hip Hop can help satisfy craving for all things are. There is also Rakastella, which features labels Life and Death and Innervisions. Rakastella sounds like the party of a lifetime and don’t worry, you’ll get your money’s worth since the party doesn’t end til 7 am!

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