The 20th anniversary of Art Basel in Miami Beach

Art Basel is the world's largest international art fair.

The 20th anniversary of Art Basel in Miami Beach
Source: Art Basel

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Art Basel's Miami Beach debut. Art Basel is the world's largest international art fair that happens once a year in Hong Kong as well as Basel, Switzerland; Paris, France; and Miami, Florida. The event started in the 1970s and has gained a ton of popularity and press since then. Tens of thousands of visitors go to each fair, from art collectors to students. Marc Spiegler, the fair's global director, described the fair by saying: "When it works, it's this virtuous circle. Galleries bring great work because the collectors are there, and collectors come for the great work."

At this year's Miami show, there are 282 booths, its biggest showing yet. Five different continents are represented, too, showing modern and contemporary art. And there are a few different categories of the fair: Galleries (main sector), Meridians (for large-scale projects), Nova, Positions, Survey (works with historical relevance), Edition, Kabinett, Magazines (art publications) and Conversations (discussion panels).

Magalí Arriola, the director of Mexico City's Museo Tamayo and the person who curated the Meridians sector this year, said, "What I would like to achieve is for visitors to have an immersive, multisensory experience through works that spark critical discourse."

There's even a digital viewing gallery. Art Basel Live was launched very recently in May 2021, and you can find Online Viewing Rooms to take in the art digitally. This way, collectors and other people who want to poke around can do so without flying all the way to Miami. Even talks between big names in the art world are recorded and available to watch online. Content on Art Basel Live on Instagram is broadcast in real-time.

Another recent addition is the decision to show NFTs as art pieces at the fair. Last year, these tokens were way more noticeable. This year, with the downward slide of Bitcoin and the FTX scandal, more traditional art forms are retaking the main stage. New York art dealer David Lewis explained: "I think there's a lot of comfort in the fact that a lot of the ways of doing things that have been going on for years or decades – or if you think of painting, centuries – are back in the lead."