For Art Basel week, South Beach hotel Aqua became a temporary residence for paintings, sculptures, sound, and light projections. The diverse and colorful exhibits were on display from December 7th to 10th, with a special VIP preview on December 6th. Flanked by two glowing heads, the entrance to Aqua became a portal into a different world, where visitors drifted through once furnished living rooms, closets, and bathrooms—now galleries filled with visions and talent embodied by up and coming, as well as previously established artists. Creatives and curators sipped drinks by the bar in the internal courtyard and gazed onto the busy streets of Miami from the second-floor balcony.
Notable guests included Helga Piaget, Kara Ross, Janna Bullock, Bill Arning, Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Don Bacigalupi, Founding President, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, Wendy Kaplan, Department Head and Curator, Decorative Arts and Design at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Alex Nyerges, Director, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Eric Shiner, Vice President, Modern and Contemporary Art Sales at Sothebys New York, Annie Carlano, Senior Curator of Craft, Design & amp; Fashion, The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, Kandi Burruss from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and Matt Altman and Josh Altman – The Altman Brothers from Million Dollar Listing, and Shawn Marion. With over 52 exhibitors, the event encouraged viewers to explore the intimate and welcoming vibe of the collections. Artists could be glimpsed working away at desks either hidden in closets or in the middle of crowds admiring their finished pieces on display. It felt like visiting a crowded house party rather than gallery hopping, and the intimacy of Aqua carried through to the works of art an exceptional interest and attention to detail. The individual—whether seasoned Art Basel veteran or novice art appreciator—was offered to interact with the setting, to try on the hand-crafted jewelry, to view live tattoo art demonstrations, or to add their own touch to some of the exhibits such as Daria Sandburg’s “The Baggage Claim.” Visitors were invited to learn about the process of creating a work of art and engage with some of the most talented and up-and-coming artists on display at Art Basel Week. The variety and quality of more than 150 artists works’ represented, distinguishes it as one of the must-see attractions of Art Basel week. Aqua Art Miami fair concluded the season by celebrating its 13th year as one of the most successful to date and promises to return next year, vibrant and vanguard as ever.