Frenzied activity hums through the streets as you dash from fair to fair, as exhausted as you are overwhelmed by the stunning caliber of contemporary art on display. There’s no shortage of parties to hop to or exhibits to see, as international art galleries descend upon the city while local arts institutions exhibit their collections and emerging artists.
If you’ve ever attended Miami Art Week, then you know what to expect at the year’s most anticipated art event. And while the week-long celebration is certainly a perfectly good excuse to party, it’s also an extraordinary opportunity for artists to network and meet essential career influencers. From collectors to gallerists, journalists and fellow artists, Art Basel Miami Beach is a great place to connect with arts enthusiasts. Rubbing elbows is great, but why miss an opportunity to introduce yourself and your work to someone who can actually make a difference in your artistic career?
How do you turn your Miami Art Week experience into an opportunity to network and connect with potential buyers? The idea is to walk a fine line between overselling yourself and selling yourself just enough. You won’t want to come off as an opportunist, but rather someone that’s knowledgeable and gracious. Don’t blurt out who you are and what you do, don’t make a beeline for someone you know is influential, but rather engage in thoughtful discussions with event-goers and allow your art experience to flow into the conversation naturally.
Think you’ve got your networking skills in top shape? Then we suggest you check out these five Art Basel parties to network and mingle with some of the art world’s most interesting people.
High Anxiety at the Rubell Family Collection
The Rubell Family possess one of the art world’s most prized contemporary art collections, which they permanently house in their open-to-the-public gallery space in Wynwood. Each year, the younger Rubell, Jennifer, kicks off Art Basel Miami Beach with an annual breakfast, often one of the most anticipated events of the week. This year, in true Rubell fashion, the Rubell Family Collection will forego its beloved breakfast in favor of something a little more avant-garde. In connection with High Anxiety: New Acquisitions, the exhibition on view during Miami Art Week, Jennifer Rubell will present an interactive performance piece on Thursday, December 1 at 9:30am.
The Rubell event is often one of the best opportunities to meet-and-greet Miami art world movers, and is often heavily attended by local artists who work and exhibit at the Rubell collection. Viewing the High Anxiety exhibition will also be an excellent opportunity to gain insight into what collectors are looking for today, as High Anxiety presents newly acquired (works they’ve acquired since 2014) works exploring polarizing social and political concerns being felt across the globe.
Young Collectors Events at Pulse and Pinta Art Fairs
Two Miami art fairs are driving initiatives to attract a younger collecting audience, and that might be an excellent opportunity to present yourself as an emerging artist among a group that’s more particularly interested in collecting emerging, affordable work. At Pulse Art Fair, emerging and established galleries bring their most snap-worthy artworks on display, and to draw new crowds the fair hosts the annual Young Collector’s Cocktail. The Young Collector’s Cocktail will be held every night of the fair from 5pm-7pm, where Pulse’s database of serious collectors will be mingling among artists and gallerists alike.
At Pinta art fair, Jimena de Guijarro will launch the inaugural Young Collector’s Desk, which will guide participants through Pinta art fair’s Latin American collections. Specifically visiting those galleries offering works priced between $500 to $20,000, Guijarro is intent to draw the focus to emerging and affordable artists. You can sign up for the tour by visiting Pinta’s website.
Superfine! Lawn Society Cocktail Party
Another art fair geared towards emerging, affordable artwork, Superfine! Art Fair is hosting a series of events aimed at drawing young collectors and art world patrons who are relatively new to the Miami Art Week scene. In addition to its Collector’s Society initiative, Superfine! will open its second annual art fair with an afternoon cocktail party and private preview of the fair. Local retro swing band Patrick & the Swayzees will perform in the fair’s back garden, which has a curated installation by Miami artist collective Nice’N Easy along with an experiential audio-visual immersion by Miami artist Jen Clay.
Since Superfine! is a relatively young fair, getting to know both the fair’s founders and its participating artists will be a great way to determine whether it’s worth getting involved next year. Founder Alex Mitow has developed an art fair model that makes it relatively inexpensive to exhibit at the fair. By lowering the barrier of entry, Mitow hopes to draw more engagement among artists and collectors, creating a friendlier environment for making sales, the lifeblood of an artist’s ability to excel as an artist. The Superfine! Lawn Society cocktail will be held on Thursday, December 1 from 2pm-6pm. You can purchase tickets on their website.
The New Art Dealers Alliance has quickly become one of the most anticipated art fairs during Miami Art Week. As the title suggests, NADA is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the cultivation, support, and advancement of new voices in contemporary art. Most exhibiting galleries are relatively new to the art world game. While affordability isn’t necessarily a driving factor among participating galleries, those invited to exhibit at NADA are recognized as nascent dealers innovating the art world model.
Each night after the fair, NADA will host late night after parties at one of Miami’s most beloved dive bars, The Sanbar Lounge. Located directly across the street from NADA’s Deauville Beach Resort location, NADAWAVE at Sandbar Lounge are curated pop-ups filled with musical performances and art installations, including a special performance by Eli Keszler of The Empty Gallery. NADA’s after party events are a great time to get your foot in the door with some of the world’s most exciting new galleries, many of which are presenting art that lands in magazines and the blogosphere on a constant basis.
Frost Museum Breakfast in the Park
You may be exhausted from all the hustling, but there’s no reason why you can’t squeeze a little education in. At Florida International University’s Frost Museum of Art, an educational breakfast will be offered, completely free and open to the public. The annual Breakfast in the Park event, held on Sunday, December 4, will host sculptor Judy Pfaff, who will discuss her lengthy career and process for crafting some of the most recognizable sculptures in contemporary art.
Often times, artists overlook the importance of mingling with educators and peers. FIU’s studio art program has become increasingly renowned and is bringing an army of established contemporary artists to its fold. Breakfast in the Park is an opportunity to present your questions and solicit advice from those who have gone before you, while potentially becoming friendly enough to create a longer-lasting mentor relationship. Though the event will take place far from the Art Basel tents, Breakfast in the Park is one event worth making a trip for – even if only to listen to Pfaff’s lecture.