The art world is invading Miami, and here are the best exhibits to see

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Drop Scene (0X5A1114) by Paul Mpagi Sepuya, at Art Basel Miami Beach 2019

Art Basel has come to Miami once again, bringing one of the biggest and most exciting art shows in the world to the sandy shores of South Florida. And some of the art is literally on, and in, the sand. but we’ll explain that later.

The 2019 season runs from Dec. 5-8, 2019, and takes over the Miami Beach Convention Center with artists displaying their photographs, paintings, sculptures, and whatever else they create in the name of “art.” Among the artists showing in 2019 will be Paul Mpagi Sepuya, a self-described black queer photographer, who is a rising star in the art world. He created the photo above, and also this photo that has some artistic nudity.

Most of the art at Art Basel is for sale, and can fetch some mind-boggling amounts of money; in 2018, an art dealer at Art Basel in Miami Beach sold a Picasso with a price tag of $17 million. Of course, the vast majority of attendees are there just to wander around and look, and perhaps spot celebrities like Beyoncé and Leonardo DiCaprio in the crowds. There are also the art aficionados who don’t bother looking at any of the art, yet nevertheless complain—to anybody who will listen—about how tired they are from going to endless Art Basel parties. All of that free wine isn’t going to drink itself. 

Art Basel in Miami Beach has become so popular, and so important in the world of contemporary art, various satellite shows have popped up around town to join in the fun. These include the Scope Art Show, which in 2019 will feature work by photographer Jorge Otero:

 
 
 
 
 
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The definition or “art” also extends into the world of interior design, as CASACOR Miami runs through the month of December, and features very sexy home furnishings, like this chair by Marc Ange:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Marc Ange (@marc.ange) on

Besides hosting big international art shows, the Miami area has a major art scene of its own, based mostly on the mainland, where the Wynwood district has been transformed into a living canvas with walls with extraordinary graffiti murals. Even for non-artsy types, the walls in Wynwood are definitely worth a visit. 

 
 
 
 
 
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But back to Miami Beach: in celebration of Art Basel, the Miami Beach city government commissioned Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich to create an interactive piece of public art, which he built on the beach, literally out of sand. Titled Order of Importance, the piece expresses a message that Erlich has to say about climate change:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ISTANBUL’74 (@istanbul74_) on

This art is woke. And it is also really fun. Here are some other views:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sunshine State Of Mind (@305ssom) on

 
 
 
 
 
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Order of Importance is at the Lincoln Road block of the beach, which is approximately 16th St., and is easy to see—just look for the life-sized cars made of sand. And from there, walk a few blocks south to the world-famous gay section at 12th St. Beach, where perhaps this beauty will be on the sand as well:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ramon Garcia 🇧🇷 (@ramongarciafit) on

Related: Asia’s biggest queer art exhibition opens in Bangkok