Home Magazine Miami Art Week 2021: Recap

Returning after a year of stillness, Miami Art Week and the much-anticipated Art Basel fair have made a comeback!

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Trepidation and impressive sales ruled the events happening during Miami Art Week 2021, with collectors paying extraordinary amounts. It seems impossible to think of the situation which fairs were facing barely a year ago.

However unstable the situation remains, we have now become used to fluctuating restrictions, reading emotions from someone’s eyebrows, and even the pungent smell of hand gel at every corner.

The key event of the week was, of course, Art Basel’s central art fair. The 2021 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach encompassed 253 leading international galleries from 36 countries and territories.

After cancelling last year’s edition, Miami Beach saw many staggering sales this year. Helly Nahmad Gallery sold Picasso’s ‘Mousquetaire et Femme a la Fleur’ (1967) for just under $20 million – the highest figure reached this year. Mnuchin Gallery sold two Mary Lovelace O’Neal paintings for $500,00. A porcelain sculpture by Simone Leigh - the artist who will be representing the U.S. at the 59th Venice Biennale opening in April 2022 - was sold for $400,00, just before the fair opened.

It is an endless list of skyrocket figures and incredible artists!


Art Basel, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2021, 2021, Courtesy of Art Basel ©Art Basel


“A huge win for Miami and the metaverse this week! We were thrilled to place so many works from the fair in great collections, including pieces by Robert Nava and Marina Perez Simão with museums. Art Basel brought us new opportunities in the digital sphere too — the coming-together of creative minds and tech innovators at the fair provided rocket fuel for our digital artists, including the debut of several NFTs.” said Marc Glimcher, President and CEO of Pace Gallery (New York, Palo Alto, Palm Beach, Hong Kong, Seoul, Geneva and London).

“It felt great to be back in Miami. The enthusiasm among the collectors, curators and advisors was wonderful, and the conversations were incredibly lively – all a reassuring reminder that the art world is truly a community and that Art Basel Miami Beach is its leading fair in the United States. We had an amazing first day with almost 20 works sold, including several, like paintings by Christina Quarles and Rashid Johnson, going to major institutions. Every work in our stand came from our gallery artists and estates, so the enthusiasm from private and institutional collectors was even more gratifying for us. It's clear that American art continues to lead the market with top quality being the north star on the compass. said Marc Payot, President of Hauser & Wirth (Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Somerset, St. Moritz, Zurich, Gstaad and Menorca)


Art Basel, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2021, 2021, Courtesy of Art Basel ©Art Basel


As well as the mosaic of booths and media, this year exhibitions and events dominated the city in Florida. Among these, the Miami Mural Festival and Pop-Up Exhibition produced in collaboration with Mana Public Arts and an unprecedented exhibition on Arte Povera of The Margulies Collection at the warehouse.

Noteworthy exhibitions include ‘A Walk in the Park’ at Mindy Solomon – featuring two artists from different backgrounds. Super Future Kid draws from his childhood in East Germany and Chicago-based Yvette Mayorga tackles the militarisation of the U.S.-Mexico border. The two artists answer each other’s works, investigating the cultural effect borders have on our need to find a sense of belonging.

Another important show is ‘My Name is Maryan’ at Moca North Miami, presenting ‘eyewitness artist’ Maryan’s paintings, sculptures, drawings and films. ’DADA Holdings’ presents Jamaican artist Jamilah Sabur’s new suite of surreal artworks aimed at challenging the way we see geography and warfare – in tandem with Sabur’s video work ‘Bulk Pangea’ about the extraction of Aluminon.

Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Kennedy Yanko, artists in residence at the Rubell Museum in 2021, presented their impressive works. Kwame Kye Quaicoe’s large-scale tryptic delves into the history of the Black cowboy and Kennedy Yanko’s series including three works ‘I am flower’, ‘I am water’ and ‘I am that’ created with paint and materials sourced form metal junkyards in South Florida. The Rubell Museum also hosts a show of Reginald O’Neal called ‘AS I AM’.

What a week!


Art Basel, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2021, 2021, Courtesy of Art Basel ©Art Basel


Cover image: Art Basel, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2021, 2021, Courtesy of Art Basel ©Art Basel

Written by Zoë Rivas Zanello

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