For lovers of art, the needle on the compass is turning inexorably toward 25.76º N 80.19ºW. That’s Miami, already buzzing with activity for the most glamorous fair of all — the Art Basel Miami Beach (December 6 – 9) — and nearly a dozen other associated fairs. To name a few of the side events, there’s Art Miami headed into its 29th edition along with sister fairs Context Art Miami and Aqua Art Miami; there’s Design Miami showcasing the best in the world of design and forecasting the trends for the next year, and then there’s the Ink Miami Art Fair featuring only works in ink.
Miami museums and galleries including the Bass Museum, the ICA Miami and Perez Art Museum Miami use the occasion to present some of their best shows of the year.
As is proved each year, the city’s party credentials complement the crowds that December brings.
To gain insights on the fair and the scene in Miami, we spoke to local gallerist Fredric Snitzer, who shares his thoughts on the city’s lively culture and the effects Art Basel have had on it.
Since when have you been participating in Art Basel Miami Beach and what do you like best about this fair?
I have been exhibiting in ABMB every year since it began. It is an enormous opportunity to expose my program to an international audience of top collectors, curators and artists.
As a local gallerist, what is your assessment of the impact of Art Basel Miami Beach on the art scene of the city?
The impact of ABMB has been profound. The development of museums, private collections, not for profits has been significant. Not to mention the impact on real estate and the local economy in general.
Do you think it is overhyped?
Yes and no. We live in a time where hype is part of our daily existence and hard to decipher.
Do you think the tremendous attention that the fair attracts wouldn’t have been possible without the unique character of the city and it’s art scene?
The city yes, the art scene… is a work in progress with a way to go.
Your gallery will be hosting Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea’s exhibition “Uninhabited Order” during Art Basel Miami Beach. Could you share the details about the show?
We are very excited to have new work by Alexandre Arrechea both in the gallery with a solo exhibition and as a specially commissioned installation debuting in our gallery booth at ABMB’s Kabinett section. The Cuban-born artist brings to the gallery his new work titled “Uninhabited Order,” following a fascination with the performative nature of historical narrative. Mixing multi-media installations, sculptural pieces, and wall-length watercolors, Arrechea assembled structures that are both devoid of physical presence and inhabited in a new way. These individual pieces form a relational nexus, setting off an active dialogue between them and bringing forth a new order in the process. The show marks the artist’s first use of bronze.
Situated as you are in Miami — a veritable bridge between the Latin America and North America — could you share your specific engagement with artists from the region?
The gallery has been working with artists from the region for over 35 years. Our program has one goal — to present the best possible work we have access to. Indeed, we have for a long time had access to the region and choose to show the best possible artists from there.
How long have you lived in Miami and what do you like best about the city?
I have lived in Miami for 41 years. What I like best about the city is its changing cultural diversity and the weather… in the winter.
As a Miami resident, what are the city’s best art destinations and/or cultural experiences that you would recommend to visitors?
The museums and private collections as well as the not for profits. We have some of the best private collections (Rubell, De la Cruz, Margulies) in the world. And of course, Fredric Snitzer Gallery
What are your favorite places to hang out after a long day at the fair?
What are the best places to get a taste of Miami’s famed night life?
Not really a big fan of Miami’s famed night life. Wynwood, South Beach, I suppose…
Where would you prefer to take your friends/ visitors to dinner in Miami?
Joe’s … Always a favorite
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Miami during the fair?
South Beach… you can simply walk to the fair.
Any local Miami product that you recommend visitors must buy as a souvenir of the city?
Stuffed Alligators and coconut patties at the airport on your way out.
What are the best places for shopping in Miami?
The design district.
Do you think any thing needs to be done specifically — both by locals and tourists — to preserve all things that make Miami such a unique city in the world?
What makes Miami great is its crazy, natural evolution. Just leave it alone. The beaches and everglades need to be nurtured and the ecology in general needs to be responsibly tended to.