Art Basel's Best Bets: Ten Unmissable Shows This Week

via @futureclaw
Banksy's Stop and Search is on view at CONTEXT Art Miami.
With more than 50,000 international visitors pouring into the Big Mango for the Art Basel blitz, our cultural calendar has hit critical mass. Everywhere across the 305 the top shelf swill is flowing, B-listers are rubbing elbows with Euro-trash; people you haven't seen since middle school are contacting you to see if you can score them tix to a VIP Vernissage.

Art Basel turns our already dysfunctional town into a Babylonian echo chamber. But despite plenty of claims to the contrary, you will find many exhibits at the fairs and in local galleries and museums worth visiting -- even if it means enduring (or, in the best case scenario, embracing) the chaos.

Our top ten picks include a visit to ABMB's free public outdoor sculpture park and nighttime video projections, satellite fairs both new and old, a pop-up gun store and more. Here's what not to miss this weekend.

See also:
- Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 Fair and Gallery Guide

Agustina Woodgate
Art Basel Miami Beach
Held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, ABMB, now in its 11th edition, features 260 top-shelf galleries from countries representing North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, which will exhibit 20th- and 21st-century artworks by more than 2,000 artists. In the Art Positions area, 16 upstart galleries each feature a major installation created by one artist. Look for Miami's own Spinello Projects, where Agustina Woodgate's Basel debut, New Landscapes, includes filed-down world maps reshaped into surreal displays. Special sections will also feature performance art, video art, public projects.
December 6-9 at various Miami locations. Visit

ABMB Art Public
Basel's sculpture park at Collins Park was organized for the second consecutive year by Christine Y. Kim, a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her lineup corrals works that explore language and speech. Crane your head skyward at 11:45 each morning to see Dave McKenzie's Declaration -- a plane flying a banner offering artistic marriage proposals.

After catching Pierre Ardouvin's melting-snowman sculptures, titled Bonhomme de Neige, amble over to Basel's oceanfront installation between 20th and 21st streets, where Cuban collective Los Carpinteros whips up frosty cocktails inside Guiro. Open from 5 p.m. to midnight every evening through December 8, the bar takes the form of a traditional Caribbean percussion instrument made from a gourd. Visitors enjoy a curated program of live music and performances by Mallorcan composer Joan Valent along with their beverages.

ABMB Art Video
Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to SoundScape Park to watch video works on the 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center. ABMB's Art Video Nights will spool 60 video and film works by top contemporary names, including Julieta Aranda, Daniel Arsham, Theaster Gates, and Robin Rhode.
December 8 and 9 from 6 p.m. Admission is free.

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Jonathan Duarte
Jonathan Duarte

The Miami River Art Fair @ the James L. Knight Center is pretty spectacular too!

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