OK, we'll say it. Art Basel Miami can be a bit pretentious. It sort of goes with the territory when an entire economy the size of a small nation crops up on a little piece of coastline for a few short days, only to vanish as quickly as you can say "I'm on the guest list." We tend to think the best art is art that's free for everyone to enjoy. That's why despite the terrible traffic and general hysteria surrounding Art Basel, the abundance of public artworks it generates each first week in December is one of the many reasons we look forward to Miami Art Week year after year. Here's our guide to the coolest art installations to check out during Art Basel 2021.
1. Tomorrow Land by Enjoy The Weather and Studio Proba
Creative studios Enjoy The Weather and Studio Proba came out on top in Design District’s 2021 Design Commission competition to inundate the already inspired shopping district with even more cutting-edge art and design. In partnership with curators Anava Projects, this year’s Tomorrow Land installation transforms the neighborhood into an interactive playground through a series of joyfully designed sculptures, seating and ornamentation designed by Studio Proba. Known for its brightly colored organic forms, Studio Proba’s installation will enliven the neighborhood’s thoroughfares and serve as the physical counterpart to an interactive, augmented reality game created by Enjoy The Weather that visitors can play on their phones via an app. Various locations, Miami Design District. Nov 2021–May 2022.
2. Five Echoes by Es Devlin and Chanel
London-based artist and stage designer Es Devlin, who has brought to life otherworldly sets for the Weeknd, Lorde, Louis Vuitton and Beyonce’s Formation Tour, has been selected by none other than Chanel to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of its iconic scent, Chanel N°5, during Art Basel. The Five Echoes sculptural installation, conceived as a synesthetic translation of the fragrance, is a massive, multisensory labyrinth animated by light and sound, ensconced by a fleeting forest of over 1,000 plants, shrubs and trees that will later be replanted in parks throughout Miami-Dade County. Jungle Plaza, 3801 NE 1st Ave. Nov 30–Dec 21.
3. DAISIES at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
For its series of public installations this Basel, the always hip hotel hang The Standard Spa, Miami Beach has partnered with creative producer Paige Silveria on her latest iteration of DAISIES, a collaborative art project of site-specific presentations. Drawing inspiration from the cult-classic 1966 film of the same name, in which two existentially disillusioned women engage in revelrous and anarchic behavior, this round of DAISIES will feature works from 13 multidisciplinary artists including filmmakers, fashion designers, video artists and others. The Standard Spa, 40 Island Ave, Miami Beach. Nov 30–Dec 5, 12pm–5pm.
4. Antonia Wright Ocean Activation at UNTITLED
In conjunction with the opening of Untitled Art Fair 2021, Miami’s non-profit art exhibition space Locust Projects kicks off Art Week with a public screening of local artist Antonia Wright’s And so with ends come beginnings, a contemplative video on sea-level rise that will play on a large screen floating off the shores of South Beach. Shot when the artist was nine months pregnant, the video is a metaphor for the dualities of ecstasy and anxiety of living in a paradise for ground-zero sea-level rise. Lummus Park, 1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach. Nov 29, 4–6pm.
5. The Pilgrimage of the Soul by Kathia St. Hilaire
As the final installment of Fringe Projects’ “Public Color” exhibition of eight newly commissioned, site-specific public works by artists of Caribbean descent, Kathia St. Hilaire presents her most recent large-scale piece, The Pilgrimage of the Soul (2021), in downtown Miami. Measuring 24-foot by 30-foot, the painting-mural embodies South Florida artist and printmaker St. Hilaire’s signature style, drawing from Caribbean mythologies and experimental painting strategies. Using Miami as the context, the seven artists of “Public Color” use their works to explore themes and experiences about urban life as viewed through their diasporic lenses. 148 East Flagler St. Nov 15-ongoing.
6. Dominga's Photo Studio at The Wolfsonian–FIU
Presented in collaboration with Bakehouse Art Complex and Miami Beach Open House, artist Juan Matos's Dominga's Photo Studio pays tribute to studio photography and its role in documenting contemporary culture. Taking up residence in the Bridge Tender House outside the Wolfsonian-FIU museum, the petite pop-up studio invites public wanderers to sit for highly curated and posed portraits created by collaging together various images in the Wolfsonian collection. In exchange for their photograph, sitters get to leave with a printed portrait. The Wolfsonian–FIU, 1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach. Dec 1–8.