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Travels to Art Basel Miami Beach

Did you know that a benefit of upper level Museum Council membership is travel opportunities with the MFA?

We recently caught up with Museum Council Steering Committee member, Meg Miller who traveled to Miami Beach with the MFA for Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) in early December. Here's what Meg said about this year's trip:

Q: So, while most of the rest of the world bundled up against the cold, the international art world descended upon Miami Beach for the 11th edition of this contemporary art fair. What inspired you to go on a trip with the MFA?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to attend ABMB. In 2011, when I found out the MFA offered an ABMB trip to attend what was the 10th edition of the fair, I jumped at the chance and signed up. Participants, many of whom were fellow Museum Council members, enjoyed VIP access to ABMB, which granted early access to the fair, before it opened to the public. In addition, the MFA offered specialized tours of satellite art fairs, local museums, and private collections that further enhanced the number of opportunities to get the full insider experience of a major international art fair. The experience as a whole was so memorable that I rebooked to attend again in 2012, and am now eagerly looking forward to attending this year.

Q: What is like attending a big international art fair?

The week surrounding ABMB can be overwhelming at times, yet it is a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience. There is an overabundance of stimuli—  colors, textures, shapes, and sounds. Everywhere you look there is artwork in every medium imaginable—paintings, performance art, sculptures, photography, prints, multi-media installations, videos, furniture, etc.The main fair is held within the Miami Beach Convention Center; however, the art does not stop there. In addition, there are countless satellite art fairs, artist talks, musical performances, and parties galore. Even the city, itself, is a blank canvas for art installations. Some noteworthy additions this year included: 1) "Plane Text,"an aerial show including different text banners flown across the city skyline throughout the duration of the fair; and 2) Untitled, a new satellite art fair held directly on the sands of South Beach.

Q: Favorite moment of Art Basel Miami?

My favorite part of attending ABMB is discovering new artists and viewing unique and at times outlandish art. A new personal favorite was abstract artist, Laura Owens. My favorite of her series of large-scale, colorful abstract paintings was Untitled [LO471]. Standing before it, I couldn’t help but think how fabulous it would look hanging on my living room wall; that is if it had not been well outside my budget. One can dream. . . .

Another fascinating mixed-media piece I encountered was Kohei Nawa’s PixCell—Red Deer, which was a definite crowd pleaser. It was a taxidermy deer, which the artist interestingly enough purchased on eBay, covered in glass orbs of varying sizes. Practical? No. Spectacular? Definitely!

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Photo courtesy of Meg Miller.