Art Basel returns to the beach

Sun, sand, sea... and art. Art Basel Miami Beach

Switzerland’s prestigious art fair, Art Basel, has hit the beach for the second year running, decamping to sunny Florida.

This content was published on December 5, 2003 - 11:01

Art Basel Miami Beach showcases contemporary and modern art from more than 1,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, drawing collectors from around the world.

Around 30,000 people attended last year’s event, and organisers are hoping this year’s 175 galleries featuring paintings, sculpture, photographs and video art will prove an equal draw.

Prices for the works on offer range from several hundred dollars for young artists to several million dollars for major artists, such as Picasso and Matisse.

Fears that the weak global economy might dampen the atmosphere in Miami have been dismissed by Peter Vetsch, marketing and communications manager of Art Basel.

“We have been organising Art Basel in Switzerland for the past 34 years while the economy has gone up and down: we don’t count on the economy,” he told swissinfo.

He said Miami’s warm December climate and the city’s lively art scene were two of the main assets ensuring visitors attended the four-day event.

Second edition

Among the new innovations for the second edition of Art Basel Miami Beach are dedicated spaces for unknown artists.

The event also makes the most of its beach setting, with some exhibition spaces set in shipping containers on the seafront and local art collectors opening their homes.

“We have 135 exhibitors coming to Miami from all over the world: from Europe, from Asia, from Latin America and the USA,” added Vetsch.

“And they include some of the finest dealers of modern art in the world.”

swissinfo, Vanessa Mock and Joanne Shields


Art Basel is considered the world’s most important art fair.

Some 175 galleries from around the world will be displaying their collections Art Basel Miami Beach.

The art will be displayed in converted shipping containers, as well as more traditional settings.

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Art Basel Miami Beach runs from December 4 to 7.
It features seven different events.
Art Basel has been running for the past 34 years.

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