A Celebration of the Creative Chaos: 20 Years of Miami Art Basel

Michael Angee, Life Editor

Highlighting Miami’s culturally dense art and creation, Art Basel celebrates its 20th year in Miami. 

In the 1970s, Art Basel saw its beginning in Basel, Switzerland by Ernest Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt, and has since become one of the most important and renowned art shows in the world. In 2002, the beginning of Art Basel in Miami began and it was beyond successful. 

Miami’s Art Basel hosted thousands of artists, curators, collectors and visitors. The event, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, saw great amounts of people connecting and familiarizing themselves with the art world. From the art community within Miami to that of the world, Art Basel connects artists and audiences alike through one of the foremost events of the year. 

“You walk in and it is just this huge, giant room, it is like a maze almost. There’s thousands and thousands of art pieces like everywhere you look there’s something different, from a different place, from a different artist, different meanings,” Miami Palmetto Senior High senior Patrick Rodriguez said. 

The Art Basel event in the Miami Beach Convention Center is not the only area where people can experience the connection to the art brought to Miami. The annual art convention, Art Miami, took place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4 and held a number of notable artists from both the 20 and 21 centuries, such as Pablo Picasso and Fernando Botero.

In the artistic commotion brought upon the City of Miami, audiences may feel the passionate bond that artists express through their creations, which may reflect the most obscure dimensions of the artist through pieces that may potentially become centers of collectors’ selections. 

“It’s quite literally chaos. I walk in there and there are thousands of people and like all different kinds of people. It’s chaos, but not in a bad way. It’s chaos because that’s what art is. Art isn’t defined to one thing, it shouldn’t be. And there’s art not only in the art but in the people that are there too,” Rodriguez said. “The whole thing is chaotic, you don’t know where you’re going. You take turns and there’s more art you didn’t even know and have never seen. You think you can see it all but you can’t.” 

Acknowledging the process in which art is created and appears in front of an audience expresses the debate: what is art? But, it seems as though the yearly event celebrates the limitless interpretations of what art can, is, and will be. 

“It was so incredible… how  [the Miami Beach Convention Center] was designed because the way that it was designed was that you kind of get lost in it. You wander around and you lose your way in what direction you’re going, kind of just immerse yourself in the art which was really cool,” Rodriguez said. “The art itself was beautiful. A lot of it was so interesting to look at, visually appealing but also a lot of deep art that really reflected the societal things that are going on, societal problems. So I thought that was cool. But it was a really great experience, I really enjoyed it.” 

Art Basel sees a massive influx of tourism in Miami as the event is cited to attract over 75,000 visitors from different backgrounds traveling for the event. 

“The people there are so interesting, that’s just one of the things that fascinated me the most besides the art of course was just literally looking and watching all the people. Like people with crazy, cool outfits on,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone’s showing their best, you know nobody really cared about their image or how they looked, it was just how they felt. That’s exactly what art is, it’s just an expression of how you feel and everybody was doing that there.”