The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Senior Issue 2024
June 5, 2024

Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 goes virtual

By Isabella Zimmermann
Editor-in-Chief

Since Art Basel Miami Beach’s launch in 2002, the annual art show has become a cornerstone of Art Miami Week, bringing together hundreds of the world’s leading galleries in one location to exhibit the works of artists and host events from cultural institutions. 

“Art is important to Miami because [it projects] the diversity of the culture and ethnic backgrounds present here [in the city],” senior Niccholas Reiz said, who recently participated in the Coconut Grove Art Festival and the Black History Month Exhibition for Miami-Dade Public Schools. “[Artists use] a variety of mediums and styles that cultivates inspiration within many young, aspiring, and experienced artists.”

Because of the ongoing pandemic, however, organizers of Art Basel Miami 2020 canceled the event. Instead, they opted to use Art Basel’s virtual platform, Online Viewing Rooms (OVR), to host its latest iteration, ‘OVR: Miami Beach.’ The online event took place from December 2 to December 6, featuring 255 galleries from over 30 countries and territories in digital presentations of artwork. Art Basel’s participating galleries and partners provided virtual gallery walk-throughs, artist talks, and live performances. 

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The site allowed free registration for any interested user and had individual tabs: an overview of the OVRs, the viewing rooms themselves, a list of 60 events related to Art Basel, and information regarding the 30 arts organizations hosting physical exhibitions during Miami Art Week.  

Art Basel’s interface was easily navigable. Its “Events” tab provided links to Art Basel’s online Conversations with artists program, online events, and outside events taking place in galleries and other locations during Miami Art Week.

Members could scroll through hundreds of art pieces in the viewing rooms, with artwork details, descriptions, and an option to make inquiries about sales available for each work. Seven of Art Basel’s partners introduced “Partner Rooms,” which presented artistic projects surrounding different themes.

Among Art Basel’s seven “Partner Rooms” was UBS’s “The Art of One’s Own Era: Celebrating the Legacy of Donald B. Marron – A Preview,” which highlighted artworks celebrating the late art collector Donald B. Marron, who owned over 300 works valued at $450 million.

Despite the wildly different experience this year, and many mixed opinions about the event being online, the viewing rooms proved successful, with many galleries selling their works by the end of December 6.

“I believe it was a good effort to continue the tradition of Art Basel. [It being online] allows people to view all of the art on display, unlike if you were in person where you may miss important or special pieces that deserve recognition. However, having to view the art online is a lot less intimate, and it’s harder to make a connection with the art behind a screen,” senior Francesca Fernandez said, who has visited Art Basel in the past.

The Viewing Rooms showed a variety of works that could be filtered by artist, year, medium, price, and sector.
Clicking on an artwork would direct one to a separate window where the piece’s specific details would pop up.

Although Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms are now closed, their site has published OVR-related stories, many of which feature the most significant works during the event. The site also has an online catalog of artworks featured at Miami Beach dating from 2014 to 2019, which is accessible all year-long.

Art Miami Week is now over, but art fairs and events will continue until the end of January. From December 2 to December 20, Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami art fairs will use the digital platform Artsy, which lets visitors look at art, visit booths, and buy works from over 150 galleries. For an in-person experience, The Confidante Miami Beach offers a Salvador Dalí pop-up exhibition of works from famous Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí. The event ends January 17, with tickets available starting at $5 for a virtual viewing and $35 for access to the indoor and outdoor exhibit. More information about future events occurring throughout different galleries in Miami is made available on Art Basel’s website.

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Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 goes virtual