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Art Basel bring explosion of art and events to Miami

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For art fans, the annual Art Basel Miami Beach can be ridiculously overwhelming. Running from Thursday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Dec. 4, the 10th edition of the “most prestigious art show in the Americas” features more than 260 leading galleries from North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa showcasing works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Art Basel Miami Beach is a sister event to Art Basel in Switzerland, founded in 1970 and called “the Olympics of the art world.” Miami Beach organizers have boasted that their event has eclipsed the original Art Basel in size and popularity, attracting more than 40,000 attendees a year.

Running concurrently with Art Basel is Design Miami, an international design show that also has a sister event in Switzerland. It’s a marketplace for collectible design, where the world’s top galleries gather to present museum-quality exhibitions of 20th and 21st century furniture, lighting and art. It attracts some of the top figures from the worlds of design, architecture, art and fashion.

Design Miami opens today (Wednesday, Nov. 30) in a giant tent adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center. Tickets cost $25. There will also be many “satellite” art fairs open to the public, including Art Miami, Scope, Pulse, Art Asia, Red Dot and NADA. Ticket prices vary.

On Thursday, Art Basel Miami Beach opens to the public at noon at the Miami Beach Convention Center. A one-day ticket costs $40 ($23 for seniors and students). A full run-of-fair pass is $85 and an evening ticket (starting at 4 p.m.) is $28.

But there are also many related events (some free) throughout Miami, including Wynwood and the Miami Design District. There are public exhibits along the beach and in various parks. Many local galleries and artists also have special events and exhibitions before and after the official festival dates. Also look for many concerts and related entertainment.

One of the most anticipated free events is Occupy Art Basel, a public art fair in Collins Park on South Beach. It runs throughout the four days of the event and features 24 works and collective performances. Another worth checking out is Videodrome, a nightly showing of art films on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the New World Center. Visitors to this Soundscape Park on Washington Avenue in South Beach can see screenings all four nights at 8 and 9 p.m.

Also, if you have time, be sure to check out The Atomic Grog’s favorite Wynwood art space, the Harold Golen Gallery, which is featuring through Saturday an exhibit by Mitch O’Connell called “I Am a Hug.” O’Connell, an acclaimed Chicago-based lowbrow illustrator and tattoo artist, started as a uncompromising graphic novelist in 1986. He’s recently hit it big in commercial art and has had gallery shows from New York to London.

If you’re into lowbrow or highbrow art, this is the week to hit the galleries of Miami for the best of both.

More coverage
* The Miami Herald: Art Basel Miami Beach at 10: The Basel Effect on Miami
* New Times: Guide to 2011 Art Basel Miami Beach fairs

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