The 2012 Art Basel saw 300 galleries from 36 countries exhibiting and more than 65,000 curators and collectors attending. It's a happening -- and no one who's passionate about contemporary art would miss it.
Art Basel is limited to 20th and 21st century art, and the emphasis is on the new. So, yes, you'll see Warhol and the occasional Leger, but you're more likely to encounter Cindy Sherman, Phyllida Barlow, Edward Ruscha, and Takashi Murakami among the offerings (and possibly among the attendees). In addition to the gallery exhibitors, there are installations of site-specific artworks open to the public free of charge in the Art Parcours section of the fair.
The next Art Basel takes place June 13-16, 2013.
With 40 museums to serve a population of around 165,000, Basel rightly claims the title of Switzerland's culture capital. Recently, Kunstmuseum Basel has been welcoming crowds for its excellent Picasso retrospective (through July 21). In nearby Weil am Rhein, Germany, the Vitra Design Museum is celebrating the work of American architect Louis Kahn (through August 11).
Just as thrilling to locals and sports fans alike, the local soccer team, FC Basel, was the defending Swiss champion until they were defeated on Monday by Zurich-based club Grasshopper for the Swiss Cup title.
Miami Beach, Florida
It's not really cheating to include Art Basel Miami Beach on this list. Yes, the show is an offshoot of the original in Switzerland, but as it approaches its 12th year, Art Basel Miami Beach has earned its stripes in the art community -- and not merely because it gives everyone an excuse to visit Florida in the winter. (The even newer Art Basel Hong Kong kicks off its inaugural show this month, from May 23 to 26.)
Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel Miami Beach features more than 200 exhibitors showcasing the work of some 4,000 artists and competition to be included is fierce -- close to 700 galleries applied to show at Art Basel Miami Beach last year.
As at the original Art Basel, the focus here is on the new, but in Miami Beach, there's emphasis on artists and galleries from the United States and Latin America. The Art Nova and Art Positions sections of the fair showcase recent works, and young and emerging artists. The Art Public section, organized in cooperation with the Bass Museum of Art, places art installations in Collins Park.
The next Art Basel Miami Beach takes place December 5-8.
Miami and Miami Beach have a number of private art collections open to the public.
The Rubell Family Collection is among the world's most respected private collections, featuring works by top 20th century artists and burgeoning contemporary artists. The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse includes works by Olafur Eliasson, Sol LeWitt, Willem de Kooning and Richard Serra. And in 2009, Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz opened the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space to showcase their collection of contemporary art.