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The 20th Edition of Art Basel Miami Beach Is the Fair’s Largest and Most Ambitious Yet

Every year for the last two decades, the art world makes the journey south for a treasured respite from the cold and the final art fair of the year. While every fair calls for impossibly-packed schedules and circuitous Uber routes around town, Art Basel Miami Beach—with its dreamy palm-lined boulevards, massive slate of parties and events, and infectious social energy—is in a league of its own. To mark the fair’s 20th anniversary, ABMB has pulled together its most sweeping and ambitious program to date, welcoming VIP visitors into the vast Miami Beach Convention Center to take in the offerings of 282 exhibitors from 38 countries.

Crowds—of everyone from art world insiders to celebrity collectors like Venus Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pharrell Williams, and Jon Bon Jovi—filter through a labyrinth of aisles this week, taking in the elaborate jumble of blue chip artists and emerging talents on display in the convention center’s hundreds of booths. With 25 galleries making their ABMB debut, the fair’s largest-ever catalog emphasizes galleries from North and South America, with additional sections—Positions, Nova, Survey, and Meridian—dedicated to themed groupings of exhibitors. 

ABMB’s themed sections deliver immersive experiences all their own. Positions offers a break from the cacophony of group exhibitions with 19 single-artist booths, while Survey gives viewers the chance to contextualize the emerging artists on display elsewhere at the fair through a look at works made before 2000 (the wooden sculptures from the 1950s and ‘60s by the late Cuban artist Agustín Cárdenas are not to be missed). But perhaps most captivating is the Meridian section, curated by Museo Tamayo’s director Magalí Arriola and dedicated to large-scale pieces. The towering works in year’s edition include the Pittsburgh artist Devan Shimoyama’s dazzling Swarovski crystal-encrusted utility poles (The Grove, 2021) via Chicago’s Kavi Gupta gallery, and the Brazilian artist Jonathas de Andrade’s "Lost and Found," 2020-22, a series of 25 clay sculptures of cropped male bodies donning speedos that the artist collected from the locker rooms of Brazilian public pools (co-presented by Nara Roesler and Galleria Continua). New York fixture P.P.O.W’s display of Erin M. Riley’s gargantuan wool-and-cotton tapestry, questions & answers, 2022, charts the artist’s journey toward sexual and psychological self-knowledge. With the fair’s public viewing dates slated for the rest of the week, ABMB’s 20th anniversary offering sets an ambitious and electrifying standard for years to come.  

Art Basel Miami Beach will be open to the public from December 1 to December 3, 2022 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.