Anyone who has ever attended Art Basel Miami knows the whole experience can feel a tad overwhelming. Aside from figuring out what to see at the sprawling fair in Miami Beach, there are also dozens of satellite art fairs to consider, plus what can seem like a gazillion lunches, cocktails, dinners, parties, and after-parties to pencil into a short schedule. For those heading down south, we tried to help simplify matters (or at least, edit down your calendar) by asking six art world insiders—a mix of female curators, artists, gallery owners, and CEOs—to share their own Art Basel Miami itineraries. Below, their suggestions for the most exciting exhibitions and installations to check out, where to grab a bite or quick drink, and the parties you won’t want to miss.
Founder and Editor in Chief of Gallery Gurls
Lunch in-between exhibits: Definitely Paul on Lincoln Road, I've been to Paul in Paris, so I was happy to see it in Miami for my last Art Basel Miami trip. It’s the perfect go-to sandwich spot. I also love Joe and the Juice on 16th street and Collins Avenue, really great for fresh smoothies, juices, light bites. I like their Lemon Shake and Avocado sandwich.
Pre-party drink: The Matador Bar at the Miami Beach Edition, it has a sexy ambience. I love getting drinks on the rooftop at The Betsy Hotel, the decor is all cream and gorgeous.
Best place for dinner: Definitely Los Fuegos by Francis Mallman at the Faena Hotel. I love the red and leopard vibe all throughout the restaurant and the menu looks incredible.
Must-see exhibits: There is a new project called Fair. that is going to be incredible—it is an all-female non-commercial art fair in Brickell City Center. I love Mika Rottenberg’s work and am excited to see her show at the newly renovated Bass Museum. The Margulies Collection has a new David Claerbout animation that I hear is exceptional. Dara Friedman has a retrospective at the PAMM—I’ve already seen it but am dying to go again. I’m also debuting a new performance called Control at Spinello Projects that I’m very excited about.
Where to grab a drink: I love the Corner Bar—they serve good beer and it is right by the PAMM. On the beach, Broken Shaker makes delicious cocktails and Free Spirits is the place to end every night.
Must-do in Miami: Joe’s Stone Crab is an institution, however they don’t take reservations and the line can be very long. What I would recommend is to buy stone crabs from their take out store, grab a bottle of wine, and have a picnic on the beach. So many people come to Miami for the week and never see the ocean!
Most excited to see: ABMB’s “Public,” the exhibition of outdoor sculpture in Collins Park. It always has amazing, large-scale surprises and this year's new curator, Phillip Kaiser, will certainly not disappoint.
Favorite bar: The champagne bar at La Sirenuse. Housed in the historic Surf Club in Surfside, it has the most beautiful setting in Miami.
Key reservation: Definitely do not miss Forte dei Marmi in South Beach for an exceptional Italian meal made of the best ingredients.
What to see: Of course I can’t wait to see how Katie Stout’s “Narcissus” materializes in the gallery, we have been working on it for so long. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the permanent Robert Gober installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, as well.
Party preference: Paper Magazine’s annual bash is always so fun! I am also looking forward to our second annual “Design Dinner in the Garden,” which is hosted by Emmett Moore this year alongside Katie Stout.
For lunch in-between shows: My favorite lunch spot is Clive’s, a Jamaican restaurant right up the street from the gallery.
Must-do for out-of-towners: Mandolin! I can’t say it enough, it’s beautiful, casual and epitomizes what I think of as “Miami chic.”
Head of Editorial and Creative Director at Artsy
Exhibits to see: Art fairs can be over-stimulating, so for Art Basel in Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center, I’ll mark off 10-15 booths or galleries that I want to visit, and then see what catches my eye along the way. For this year, I have the following on my radar: Gavin Brown’s enterprise will have an egg work by Rachel Rose that I’m eager to see; The Box to see a presentation of work by artist and activist Judith Bernstein; dépendance will have works by Ed Atkins on view; House of Gaga will be showing works by Alex Hubbard and Emily Sundblad; and I always visit the Positions section, where each booth is dedicated to one solo project by an emerging artist. The beauty of art fairs is being able to, even on a micro level, get a taste for programming for galleries you’re less familiar with, so I tend to seek out non-New York galleries when possible.
The Bass Museum reopened this year after a two-year renovation and addition, so I’m looking forward to seeing the update by architect Arata Isozaki, but I’m also anticipating the solo show by artist Mika Rottenberg opening ABMB week. Rottenberg, a video and multimedia artist, strings together bizarre scenes into incredibly tactile, beautiful, and disturbingly funny videos. I first became familiar with Rottenberg’s work at an early 2000s show she had at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, but it was on a trip to Amsterdam that I became hooked, after seeing a show of hers at the de Appel center. Give yourself some time to see this show, as her videos snag you, a nice reprieve from the fast-moving fair setting.
Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch are teaming up in the Design District again this year—their third year in this partnership—with a show entitled “Abstract / Not Abstract” at the Moore Building. I’m always curious to see what this combination of art-world powerhouses brings under one roof—this year exploring the boundaries and evolution of abstraction.
The Jersey City arts center Mana Contemporary is opening an outpost in the Wynwood District in Miami, and there are several exhibitions and events I’m looking forward to seeing at Mana Downtown. For one exhibition, Flatland, they’ll take over five downtown storefronts with VR and AR works and 3D projections.
Where to unwind: The beach before 8am when it’s practically empty. This has been my ritual for the last several years of Miami-going—go to the dinners, skip the parties, and get to the beach early mornings before a busy day.
Most excited for: Aside fromArt Basel itself and Design Miami, I’m excited to see Cameroon-born Belgium-based artistPascale Marthine Tayou at the newly renovated Bass Museum, as well as Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama’s politically chargedNon-Orientable, an off-site install courtesy of White Cube. Classics like the Pérez Art Museum and the collections ofDe La Cruz Collection andRubell are all showcasing provocative exhibits around identity and technology, and I’m also looking forward to the activist all-woman Fair. addressing gender inequality in the art world. Gagosian and Deitch’sAbstract / Not Abstract is also on my list, as are the Wynwood Walls—this year’s theme is humanKIND, celebrating human empathy and potential. To scout for upcoming talents I’ll be stopping byPULSE,Prizm, andNADA.
Best drinks: Juvia’s Herzog & de Meuron-designed rooftop serves up cocktails against Miami’s heady art deco skyline,Watr at The 1 rooftop is a choice spot for sunset drinks, and nightcaps are best enjoyed atSaxony Bar. That said, sometimes you just need a caffeine jolt to keep you going and for that the cafecito cubano atThe Dutch or a shot ofPanther Coffee’s East Coast blend both deliver.
Parties on the list: In terms of events, the intimate dinner parties that take place throughout the week are my favorite part of Art Basel. This year I’m particularly looking forward to a dinner co-hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow and Design Miami’s Craig Robins, where we’ll be showcasing artists fromAbsolutArt.com’sCuba x Cuba collection. When our team visited Havana earlier this year we were awed by the substantive, striking, and self-assured art being created there against all odds. Pioneering artists like Los Carpinteros, Glenda Leon, and Leandro Fael are writing Cuba’s history in real time and we’re honored to be sharing their works and stories.
Where to unwind: Tierra Santa Healing House atFaena Hotel is always a welcome indulgence. Perfect for a refresh, NYC’sChillhouse is popping-up at theNautilus this year with an all-in-one health cafe, nail salon, and massage parlour. To fully escape, theFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is quite lovely—a rainforest peppered with art installations minus the Art Basel madness.