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Art Basel Miami Guide: An Art Advisor & Dealer's top advice

Artist Jonathan Mandell, ASCENSION OF YOUTH (48" X48" X 3"), glass mosaic

By Kimberly Babin, Art Legal Founder


As the global art world eagerly watches the sparkling grandeur of Art Basel Miami 2023 unfold, art enthusiasts, collectors, and connoisseurs are sure to experience what I personally consider to be a life changing and eye-opening one-of-a-kind phenomenon. A once-a-year mystical unicorn of the art world and perhaps the fair of all art fairs: BASEL.  The immersive art extravaganza and set against the vibrant backdrop of Miami Beach is a truly iconic event, renowned for its fusion of contemporary art, innovative installations, and cultural vibrancy, is an unmissable showcase for artists, galleries, and art aficionados alike.

Ironically, originally the fair was thought to be unsuitable for Miami and South Beach areas, with doubt from many that the festival would be able to take off, bring visitors, or fill the locations hotel rooms. What an underestimation that has proven to be. However, it is perhaps understandable as the early origins consisted of Bikini-clad artists spreading out across the beach expanses often selling from the backs of vehicles and beach blankets. 

In my own experience, I could not have dreamed of how stunning the show has become or what the experience is actually like. It delivers more awe and splendor than anyone can ever truly articulate, and I couldn't have anticipated how easy it would be to seemlessly spend hours at Basel, and in a bikini at the South Beach between a lazer-lit music festival and SCOPE Intenational art fest, and switch into a dress and heals for dinner meetup at CVI.CHE 105, and a slew of high-end art events and after parties. No one explains how long the "pinch me - am I dreaming" feeling lasts long after Basel ends.


Art Basel Miami 2023 is shaping up to be another successful dream-like, surrealistic scape, and celebration of artistic innovation, cultural diversity, and creative brilliance. With these expert tips from Art Legal, attendees can navigate the sprawling art fair with purpose, gaining a deeper appreciation for the boundless world of contemporary art. Besides bracing yourself for one of the most profound marvels of the art market, I offer my expert insights as an arts advisor and dealer and to maximize the Art Basel Miami experience.


Engage with a Curatorial Focus


Art Basel Miami is a treasure trove of diverse artworks, spanning various mediums, styles, and genres. It is easy to get distracted and lose a sense of time. While I believe fully in spontaneity and discovery, it's crucial to approach the fair with a curatorial focus in mind. Identify artists or specific styles you're passionate about, spaces you have available to display art, and prioritize visiting the galleries and artists you planned to and deepen your engagement. At holidays, I have heard of people buying a pet as a gift without long-term thinking or commitment, attempting to return or find a new home for an animal because long-term dedication was not at the forefront in decision making. I would discourage buying art if you don’t have a home for it or a plan on how to care for it for the long-haul.  Experience the fair with an explorative and adventurous mind but make smart and strategic choices when purchasing.


Research and Plan Ahead


Preparation is key. Prior to attending, research the exhibiting galleries and artists. Create an itinerary based on your interests, including talks, exhibitions, and satellite events. It's beneficial to have a plan to navigate the expansive showcase. When I attended my first year, I was torn between a plethora of additional options including a music festival on a nearby island, yachts and new friends, glimmering restaurants, cabanas and pools, a million parties, stunning architecture I wanted to explore, and historic icons like the Versace Mansion, and the ocean itself. While I managed to hit nearly all of my top pics, it was a whirlwind and I felt like I missed many events, artists, and destinations.  One of my favorite galleries had just moved and I accidentally went to their former location only to be disappointed.


Embrace Interactive Experiences


While planning, expect the unexpected and leave room for flexibility. Art Basel Miami isn't solely about viewing art; it's about engaging with it. Interact with installations, engage in discussions, and attend artist talks. Engaging with art beyond its visual presence can offer profound insights and connections to the creative process.  Allowing for extra time with unexpected new-found art-loves and pieces, people and places, that you may find yourself not wanting to leave. It is likely that you may want to revisit a piece of work or gallery that you left, but it doesn’t leave your mind. The majority of my art purchases in general have been pieces that I originally thought I could live without but couldn’t stop thinking about later.


Foster Relationships and Network


Establishing connections within the art world is invaluable. Attend social events, engage with artists, gallerists, and fellow enthusiasts. Networking can lead to deeper insights, future collaborations, and potential acquisitions. This year, I have several projects and collaborations coming out of the woods, now, 1yr later, after a year of conversations and ideas and work.  Many players in the art world from artists to collectors are busy, a different level of busy, and it is common for responses to come weeks or months apart, but shared memorable experiences serve as an anchor for those relationships and might carry a sparse and sporadic contact over time into a deeper and meaningful relationship, project, or creative collaboration between two parties. In a short amount of time I had completed a circuit from Basel to New York Fashion Week, Chicago, Milwaukee, and  back to Miami with several stops in between. Following up and completing projects was reserved for downtime with less travel.

Unexpected Art and Beauty

Despite all of the well-known artists and galleries promised, art and inspiration always strikes where and when it wants to. You might find moments of art and beauty no one tells you to plan for. One striking iconic image of a business man slipping off his loafers and argile socks, rolling up his suit pants and- wading down to the water of south beach's best shore, amongst laughing children - little boys splashing and dunking one another and couples empracing wait deep in waves (well after midnight) - was not a photograph by one of the worlds best nor a painting by a contemporary genius, but just one of the many magical moments seen, but also experienced while there.


 Consult an Art Advisor


For those seeking personalized guidance amidst the vast artistic offerings, Art Legal's advisory services provide tailored recommendations and assistance. Our network of experts offers consultation, from art selection to investment strategies, catering to individual preferences and vision. Advisement & Consulting | Art Legal (

About the Art: I selected this incredible glass mosiac piece from Art Legal's Collection of Jonathan Mandell's outstanding works for a multitude of reasons. His work is lasting - gems, stones, and glass pair with his high quality professional artistic and design methods make timeless, lasting, and durable pieces that hold up in Miami's humidity and echo the shimmering beaches and reflective qualities of water - sea, and sky. His figurative series are some of my favorite selections -- they embody freedom, exploration, cellebration, dream-like states, and natural beauty. He is expending his patron and collector base to South Florida, South Beach, Miami and Brickell areas and is sure to become a tremendous success in the region and beyond in addition to his already established territories.

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