Art Basel Miami Beach is all online this year

When it comes to art fairs, I generally just make it to the New York-based art fairs, since the city is so close to me. The last art fair I went to was The Armory Show back in early March, just as the awareness and concern of Covid-19 was starting to take hold in New York City.

I’ve been receiving a lot of emails lately about Art Basel Miami Beach, which is usually a huge, week-long event in early December, but the in-person version is canceled this year. In its place is “OVR: Miami Beach,” which refers to “Online Viewing Rooms, that will feature a total of 255 galleries that were “accepted” to this 2020 virtual edition of the show. I’m curious to see how they’re going to handle a big art fair in all virtual fashion this year, so I’m trying to piece together info from my various emails as well as explore the Art Basel Miami Beach website. I have to admit, there’s been a lot of “online viewing rooms” promoted by galleries since the pandemic took hold, but I haven’t really seen any that make me feel like I’m immersed in it any more than any standard website. We’ll see if Art Basel Miami Beach can ramp up the experience with their “OVR” edition.

I’ve never been to the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, but I was in Miami last January, and saw plenty of great art even though it was after the fair.

Miami Beach at night as seen from the beach
Miami Beach at night, photo by Artsology.

The dates for OVR: Miami Beach are listed as December 2-6, 2020, but looking at the web page for the viewing rooms right now (on December 3rd), it says they don’t open until tomorrow, the 4th, at 10:00am. I see from the Events page that some virtual events were held as Zoom meetings, such as a talk between Shahzia Sikander and Jeffrey Grove, Director of Museums and Publications at Sean Kelly, regarding Sikander’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery, so unless you’re online at the time of the Zoom meeting, you miss it. I see another event titled “Figurative and Abstract Thresholds: Talk with Rafael Vogt Maia Rosa and Antonio Malta Campos,” that was streamed live on YouTube earlier today, but is still available on YouTube now. Hmm, I find this a little confusing, but I think I’ll continue to explore it some more. On the bright side, this online version allows anyone to get involved and explore it vs. the must-be-there requirement of the in-person version.

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