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Ultimate Art Basel Guide to Miami’s Hottest Neighborhoods

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Each year, Art Basel expands even more, upping the number of satellite fairs, gallery exhibits, star-studded events and nonstop nightlife. TPG contributor and Miami native Lane Nieset takes us on a neighborhood tour of the hottest spots to refuel between events and gives us the rundown on this year’s must-visit exhibits and parties. 

The main attraction during Art Basel takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but let’s be honest—this is the social event of the year in Miami. We hope you’re fresh and ready for a week sans sleep as the art and fashion crowds head to the beach. To make the planning process easier, we’ve broken down each neighborhood in Miami with details on the top fairs, dining destinations and parties that should be penciled into your calendar.

South Beach

Alfredo Jaar
Alfredo Jaar’s Culture=Capital, one of the public works of art on display during Art Basel. Photo courtesy of Alfredo Jaar, Galerie Lelong, Goodman Gallery, and Galerie Thomas Schulte

The Fairs: 

  • Art Basel brings together artists, gallerists, curators and visitors to the Miami Beach Convention Center for the weeklong main event
  • Public Sector’s 26 installations on display free and open to the public at the Bass Museum of Art‘s Collins Park from Dec. 3–7.
  • This year marks the tenth anniversary of Design Miami, a fair showcasing collectible design with galleries, exhibitions and a talk series taking place Dec. 3–7 across the street from the convention center.
  • From Dec. 2–7, SCOPE Art Show will pop up in a pavilion on Ocean Drive featuring over 100 exhibitors showcasing contemporary art
  • PULSE Contemporary Art Fair is celebrating its tenth anniversary and moving to Miami Beach this year, running from Dec. 4–7.
  • Katsuya by Starck at SLS South Beach, meanwhile, will showcase the latest series by NYC creative duo Hunter & Gatti, which merges fashion photography and art through Dec. 30.
Cecconi's
Take happy hour to Cecconi’s in Soho Beach House for $4 and $7 specials.

The Food:

  • In between events, pop into Chef Michelle Bernstein’s Garden Café at the Michy’s Pop-Up restaurant in the Botanical Gardens. You’ll have to reserve a seat for the sit-down dinners (taking place Dec. 3–5), but the café is open throughout the day from Dec. 1–7 with healthy grab-and-go options.
  • Take a break from Basel with happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. at Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House, featuring new menu items from $4 to $7.
  • For dinner that keeps with the art theme, Villa Azur will host parties and art showings from Dec. 1–5 with artwork by Tiziano Magni, MF Husain, David Benoliel and DAIN.
  • Create your own work of art at The Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami with a dreamcatcher workshop (proceeds benefit Free Arts NYC) on Friday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m.—cocktails included. The Freehand will also host a slew of other Basel-related parties
WALL
Paris Hilton will be the guest DJ at WALL at W South Beach on Friday, Dec. 5.

The Parties: 

  • Ian Schrager’s new Miami Beach EDITION hotel opens just in time for the Art Basel festivities, and the hotel’s nightclub Basement MIAMI has a weeklong lineup of DJs and dance parties, starting Tuesday, Dec. 2 with DJ Harvey and continuing with a Friday night disco set by Lee Foss and a Saturday night set by Louie Vega.
  • Paris Hilton is taking her DJ skills to WALL Miami Beach at the W South Beach on Friday, Dec. 5 starting at 11:45 p.m. for an Art Basel event featuring appearances by DJs Isaac Ferry and Mr Mauricio.
  • No need to search for Le Baron’s pop-up party this year, as the French club hosts its 10-year Art Basel anniversary private party at FDR at Delano Dec. 2­­–Dec. 7.
  • Rec Room is combining two NYC nightclubs with the exclusive event 1 OAK and Up & Down Pop-Up taking place Dec. 4–Dec. 6.

Wynwood

Wynwood Walls
Detroit gallery Library Street is popping up at the Wynwood Walls during Art Basel

The Fairs:

  • Wynwood’s street art and see the new murals put in place in the “outdoor art museum” in honor or Art Basel including work by Swoon and Case as well as updates to the Wynwood Walls pieces by Kenny Scharf and Santiago Rubino. The walls will also stay open from 10 a.m. until midnight during Art Basel.
  • Detroit-based Library Street is hosting a pop-up version of its gallery set next to the Wynwood Walls with an artist talk on Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m., and an artist book and print signing fair on Friday, Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Red Dot Art Fair, is returning to Wynwood for its eighth year from Dec. 2–7, featuring 60 galleries focusing on contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. This year, midtown’s Italian restaurant Bocce Bar is serving a special menu in the tent’s café and VIP lounge.
SHIKANY
The causa & tomato salad is one of the tapas offered at SHIKANY during Art Basel.

The Food:

  • Fuel up on tapas all day long with SHIKANY’s daily changing menu of savory and sweet small plates like crispy sweet breads, short rib & gouda empanadas, and causa & tomato salad. For a coffee or juice break, stop in Panther Coffee or Jugofresh (located in the Wynwood Walls).
  • For German fare, beer and burgers, take a seat at one of the outdoor tables at the Butcher Shop, a great meeting point post-show.
  • After strolling through the Wynwood Walls, stop for a sit-down dinner at Joey’s Italian Cafe.
The R.A.W Project
One of the R.A.W Project’s murals at Jose De Diego Middle School. Photo courtesy of Lia Figueredo

The Parties: 

  • Gramps is throwing the Gramps x Basel party all week with shows starting at 7 p.m. ($10 entry) featuring artists like Snakehole, Iceage and Pictureplane.
  • The R.A.W. PROJECT (Re-Imagining the Arts in Wynwood) is transforming the walls of Jose De Diego Middle School this Art Basel to raise money for the magnet program for the arts. Stop by the school on Tuesday, Dec. 2 for a public viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. and then take the party across the street to the Bakehouse Art Complex for a reception and live performance by Physic Mirrors.
  • YoungArts is teaming up with MoMA PS1 to showcase Zero Tolerance: Miami with work from international artists that explores the themes of freedom and control from international artists, starting Wednesday, Dec. 3. YoungArts is also partnering with Wynwood’s III Points founders for a concert series featuring singer-songwriter FKA twigs on Thursday, Dec. 4;  James Blake on Friday, Dec. 5; and SBTRKT on Saturday, Dec. 6. Stephen Starr Events will also have an onsite pop-up lounge with snacks and craft cocktails.

Midtown

Art Miami
Art Miami’s VIP Preview and PAMM benefit is on Dec. 2. Photo courtesy of Ken Hayden Photography

The Fairs: 

  • Modern and contemporary art fair Art Miami kicks off for the 25th year on Tuesday, Dec. 2 with an opening night VIP preview and benefit for PAMM in partnership with its sister fair, CONTEXT which is all about emerging talent featuring 75 galleries hosting exhibits in the pavilion next to the Art Miami Pavilion. The fairs run through Sunday, Dec. 7.
  • Miami Project, another satellite fair in the area taking place Dec. 2 –7, is back for round three this year with a VIP Preview on Dec. 2 from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Bocce Bar
Bocce Bar serves Italian cuisine in Midtown, but will also have a special menu at its pop-up location at the Red Dot Art Fair.

The Food: 

  • Sugarcane raw bar grill’s happy hour always draws a chic after work crowd, which is bound to be twice as packed during the Art Basel festivities. While Bocce Bar is popping up at Red Dot Art Fair, you can taste the authentic Italian cuisine at the source for lunch or dinner just a few steps away from Sugarcane. Barú Urbano’s Midtown outpost is also here, if you’re looking for a spot to gather for drinks and Latin dishes with friends.

The Parties: 

  • Basel Castle is back this year with a lineup on Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Castle featuring Future Islands, Mykki Blanco, Amtrac and more.
  • End the week-long festivities with the Fool’s Gold annual Day Off party on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. at LMNT Studios. This year’s lineup includes sounds from DJ Mustard, A-Trak, Danny Brown, Giraffage and more (click here for tickets).

Downtown

Shen Wei
Shen Wei’s new series will be unveiled at The Freedom Tower, along with five dance performances.

The Fairs: 

  • Artist and dancer Shen Wei, the lead choreographer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, is unveiling his new series of paintings, In Black, White and Gray on Friday, Dec. 5 at The Freedom Tower at Miami-Dade College. Catch five free performances by Shen Wei Dance Arts taking place during the exhibit from Dec. 5–7
  • Design District’s art displays around Miami that honor the 10-year anniversary of Design Miami. Installation on display in the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)’s sculpture garden include Buckminster Fuller’s 24-foot Fly’s Eye Dome, a prototype for an “off-the-grid temporary dwelling.”
Pop Art Cocktail at db bistro moderne
The Warhol-inspired Pop Art cocktail at db bistro moderne.

The Food: 

  • JW Marriott Marquis is hosting a complimentary Andy Warhol exhibit and with your ticket from the event, you can score a free cocktail at db Bistro Moderne Miami downstairs Dec. 2–4. Even better, the libations are Warhol-inspired, like the “Pop Art” cocktail featuring a mix of red wine, Coke and lime juice, served in a Cambell’s soup can.
  • The former warehouse that Seasalt and Pepper is set in adds to the industrial vibe–equal parts sleek and sea–since the nautical-themed seafood brasserie is set right on the Miami River. As Seasalt and Pepper turns one year old this December, it’s expanding with the new hot stone and crudo lounge, Modern Garden, debuting during Art Basel.
Perez Art Museum Miami
PAMM is celebrating its one year anniversary on Thursday, Dec. 4 with performances by Future Brown and Kelela. Photo courtesy of World Red Eye

The Parties:

  • Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is turning 1 and celebrating with a performance by Future Brown with vocals by Kelela on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. While strolling through PAMM during the week, stop for a bite al fresco at Verde with a lunch menu of light bites, soups and salads.
  • Make your way up to 15th & Vine Kitchen and Bar at Viceroy Miami on Friday, Dec. 5 for a free Art Basel happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Part of the Viceroy’s Art Basel series “Sights & Sounds,” guests can rub elbows with French artist Duaív and watch him work while sampling light bites and indulging in one complimentary cocktail.

Design District

The Fairs:

  • At the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami in the Moore Building, you’ll find inaugural exhibits with installations from Pedro Reyes and Andra Ursuta. The opening celebration after party takes place Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. with a DJ set by Twin Shadow and performance by Prince Rama.
  • Fashion designers Walter Van Beirendonck and Bernhard Willhelm joined forces to launch The World of Mr Somebody & Mr Nobody, a combination art show, fashion store, design exhibition and global bazaar, taking place Dec. 1 –15 at 91 NE 40th St.

The Food:

  • Miami-based Chef Michael Schwartz has a few hot restaurant spots in the neighborhood, including his classic flagship Michael’s Genuine, a good go-to for brunch or lunch; Harry’s Pizzeria; and The Cypress Room, a more formal restaurant with upscale American fare. A favorite among the fashion crowd, Mandolin Aegean Bistro is a quieter spot that serves Mediterranean cuisine inspired by villages in Turkey and Greece.
Chrome Hearts
Shop at the Chrome Hearts Pop-Up in the Design District.

The Parties:

  • The Chrome Hearts Pop-Up is combining fashion, food and art, bringing in Cuban fare from David’s Café in the ground floor café; artwork by L.A. illustrator Matt DiGiacomo; and items from Chrome Hearts, Comme des Garçons, and Gareth Pugh. On Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m., the pop-up will have an exclusive event with artists and performances by Zoe Kravitz from Lolawolf.

TPG Tip: For advice on which card to use where in order to maximize your points throughout Art Basel in Miami, be sure to download the TPG To Go app.

What are you most looking forward to about Art Basel Miami 2014?

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