There is a transformation happening across the United States that many people are attributing to Wynwood, a now buzzing district just outside downtown Miami. Over the last decade, this patch of busted up blocks and forgotten concrete has become a beacon of artistic hope and has created a movement of urban beautification. Cities like Denver, Cleveland, New York and Los Angeles are all paying attention to what Wynwood represents, an urban renewal powered by art on walls previously considered to be vandalism.
The Basel crowd never thought about Wynwood much, especially in 2002 when the prestigious art show first dropped anchor in Miami Beach via Switzerland. Art Basel was a high-end show for high-end buyers with real cash and no time for street art or graffiti or anything remotely outside the fine art box.
That's all changed; here we are in 2016 and this district buzzes with chic bars, edgy galleries, top restaurants and slick retail. Everywhere you look, there is art, literally everywhere, from sidewalks to trees to the sides of buildings.
Culture is exploding here, and we just dove in at the deep end. Check back for constant updates as we roll out our video coverage all this week!
Art Basel x Sennheiser
In a very un Sennheiser move, the German audio company teamed up with artist Nik Nowak to create a custom piece that is one of the coolest things we've every seen. This collaboration could best be described as a tank with speakers, and it actually drives and bumps as loud as a Jamaican sound system.
On Wednesday night (Nov. 30) we got the chance to see it in action at an event in Wynwood. The guys at Sennheiser threw a classic soundclash with Nowak's tank vs. Bass Mechanic's bass van.
One system would fire off and then the other system would fire back; it was one of the more entertaining and innovative events we've been to in a long time.
RC Cola Plant
This legendary spot is what many would call Wynwood's ground zero, a space that was previously fraught with turf wars and violence. Now the abandoned RC Cola plant is owned by Miami's Mana group and provides a haven for street artists that helped usher in the golden age of Wynwood.
Every square inch of this place is covered in art and gets constantly refreshed with new work. Artists are selected by curators like NY's The Bushwick Collective, a Brooklyn-based outfit with the same vision for street art and urban beautification.
Artists and graffiti writers from all over the world rotate through this open air gallery; keeping it constantly refreshed and ever changing. We got the chance to sit down with one of the key curators of the space, Joe Ficalora from The Bushwick Collective, to get a deeper dive on his collective and what makes this place tick.
The RC Cola Plant
Superfine - The Fairest Fair
As Art Basel has slowly transformed Miami into a week-long art show that many now refer to as Art Week, many ancillary players have entered the fray for their shot at glory and art sales.
One of the cooler events that we found was Superfine, a fair dedicated to more emerging artists that are still within reach for most consumers. From photography to sculpture to paintings, this little fair showcased some incredible work. Check out our gallery below for some looks.
Images From Superfine, The Fairest Fair
Juxtapoz Magazine Clubhouse
Long standing indie art mag Juxtapoz has put together a fresh gallery/event space that has been well curated by the Jonathan Levine Gallery. What was previously a broken down Chinese wholesale warehouse has become bright with white walls, wooden panels, and even a little cafe. With artwork from heavyweights like Shepard Fairey, Shag, and many others this is a must hit spot even if you are just a gawker.
Artwork From The Juxtapoz Clubhouse
Art Miami - Aqua Hotel
Art Miami is another big event that happens at several different locations in Miami. We headed to our favorite installment of their activation, which was the Aqua Hotel on the beach where each hotel room is turned into a small pop up galleries from around the world.
Spectrum & Red Dot Miami
Spectrum & Red Dot were yet another art fair located in the downtown art district of Miami. These two conjoined shows seemed to be targeted at more of a well heeled crowd with their sites set on more contemporary fine art with a few exceptions that nudged up on high end street art.
Galleries and artists from around the world lined this huge temporary structure to show their wares hoping to get noticed by the more serious collectors and society types.
Definitely worth your time in the event overload that has become Miami Art Week.
Images from Spectrum & Red Dot Miami Art Shows
Art Basel Miami
Art Basel is the main event, and the organization the single handedly created a serious art scene in Miami over the last 14 years.
Many people often get confused on what exactly Art Basel is, often referring to the whole week as "Art Basel." This really is a misnomer, Art Basel is one event that happens at the Miami Beach Convention Center and features galleries from around the world showcasing their art and artists that they represent.
Everything from classic pieces of art like Matisse to more modern works by artists like Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, and Andy Warhol.
Art Basel is mostly filled with art fans and enthusiasts and peppered with a few serious buyers looking to add to their very serious art collections.
All in all it's a wonderful place to spend a day and soak in all the incredible work, but if you are looking for more street or graffiti inspired works, you won't find much affordable stuff here. Affordability and Basel are rarely used in the same sentence but that's ok, we kind of think of it as a pop up museum that's for sale.
So now, Art Basel does not encompass the entire week, it's just what you might call the anchor tenant. A lot of people are now just referring to the week long art extravaganza as Miami Art Week, which makes the most sense.
Images from Art Basel
Special thanks to Geoff at Bing and Sennheiser for your support, the Tanz Group, The Bushwick Collective, Ryan The Wheelbarrow, Mana, Wynwood Walls, Billy from Soto, Raumfeld Speakers, Aric Kurzman, Marlon Pruz, and everyone else that helped make this happen!
Stay tuned for our mini-doc coming out shortly.