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What It Takes to Put on an Art Fair: The Crazy Logistic Planning behind Art Basel-Miami Beach

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Art Basel Miami Exhibition
CAPTION: Months of planning go into creating Art Basel-Miami Beach


The younger sister to Art Basel-Switzerland, the Art Basel-Miami fair draws tens of thousands of visitors to Miami, Florida, every year. Fair goers expect to see the best of the best that artists around the world have to offer, and fair planners work incredibly hard to fulfill that demand.


This year, Art Basel-Miami Beach runs from December 3rd through December 6th. But fair planners have been busy since the moment the fair closed last year in preparation for this year’s extravagant event.


Gallery Selection


Hundreds of modern and contemporary art galleries from around the world compete to gain a coveted space at the fair. Each gallery is required to submit an application for one of nine sectors: Galleries, Edition, Nova, Survey, Positions, Kabinett, Public, Film, and Magazines. Each sector focuses on specific types and genres of art. Hopeful galleries spend weeks on the applications, which require them to detail the artwork they will exhibit, define the design of their exhibition spaces, and more. It’s an intense process. In the end, only 267 galleries won spots out of around 900 who applied.


The fair jury is looking for fresh, new works in order to keep drawing crowds of spectators and buyers, so each gallery has to prove that their exhibitions are works by brilliant up-and-coming artists or new and exclusive works by established artists.


Getting the Artwork to Miami Beach


Once a gallery has won booth space, they then have months of planning ahead of them. One of the biggest logistics nightmares is getting all the artwork safely to the fair, and for international galleries, this takes a team of dedicated experts. Leading private collectors and museums in the area help ease the stress by opening their homes and their storage warehouses to guests of the fair.


Gallerists and their teams must not only transport multiple pieces of art to the fair, they must then determine exactly how they will exhibit them to best effect. With so much competition, snagging fairgoers’ attention is of paramount importance.


At this year’s Art Basel-Miami Beach fair, you can expect that it will take at least an entire day to see everything there is to offer. Plan on several days if you also want to visit nearby 3D installations, murals, and concurrent art fairs in other parts of the city of Miami. The city of Miami, which has transformed itself in the past decade into an artistic hotspot with a young and exciting cultural pulse, rises to the occasion each and every year. We expect this year’s fair to be no different.