Art Basel returns to Miami Beach

We share our guide to Art Basel in Miami Beach as the celebrated art fair makes a much-anticipated return to Ocean Drive

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Ugo Rondinone, Miami Mountain, 2016. Stone, paint, steel. Collection of The Bass, purchased with the John and Johanna Bass Acquisition Fund. Photo © Zachary Balber. Courtesy of The Bass, Miami Beach.

Always a highlight of the artworld calendar, Art Basel Miami Beach (2–4 December 2021) returns to the city this year. As UBS celebrates its 20th year of support, we look at what makes this landmark art fair so special and give a flavour of what to expect from this eagerly awaited edition.

When Art Basel chose Miami Beach to host the first global offshoot of its art mega-fair in 2002, it cemented the city’s status as an international art capital. Home to a thriving art community and one of the greatest concentrations of private museums anywhere in the world, Miami Beach embraced this mantle with gusto and the first week of December soon began to see the city glitter with a constellation of satellite fairs and exhibitions surrounding Art Basel.

Last year’s hiatus has only amplified the excitement of the fair’s return in 2021 as it harnesses the energy of a resurgent art scene. Here are some of the top highlights to look out for this year.

Art Basel Miami Beach

With over 250 galleries exhibiting, this year not only promises renewal but will also showcase the most diverse range of voices in the fair’s history. For immersive and monumental works, head to Meridians, the platform for large-scale projects giving free reign to artists’ wildest imaginations. Also not to be missed is Nova, the sector dedicated to works created within the last three years, which will include artists addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Reflecting on the themes raised, Art Basel’s Conversations program will bring together artworld thought leaders to exchange insights on topics ranging from the shifting tides of the art market to reinventing the modern museum.

Satellite fairs

Mirroring Art Basel Miami Beach’s return to full force, a plethora of satellite fairs also reawaken in 2021. Many reflect this year’s overarching emphasis on diversity and sustainability. SCOPE, with its focus on young galleries and emerging talent, returns with a number of artists known for their engagement with environmental issues, while Prizm Art Fair explores themes of Black Existentialism and global African identity.

Must-see exhibitions

The Pérez Art Museum Miami presents "Allied with Power", a snapshot of the contemporary moment through the eyes of African and African diaspora artists including the UBS Art Collection artist Zanele Muholi, William Kentridge and Yinka Shonibare. Elsewhere, Naama Tsabar transforms the Bass into “a playable instrument” through her signature fusion of music and architecture in Meridians, while over at ICA Miami there’s a rare chance to see Betye Saar’s immersive site-specific installations reflecting on the African American experience. Landmark Miami institution the Rubell Museum is showing new work created as part of its expanded pandemic-era residency program by Kennedy Yanko, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Genesis Tramaine.

"Reimagining: A Better World"

At UBS, we believe that artists are the spokespeople of our time – and have a vital role to play in provoking conversations and challenging the status quo. To coincide with Art Basel in Miami Beach, the UBS Art Collection presents "Reimagining: A Better World", an exhibition of works from the Collection, including significant recent acquisitions, which explore today’s most critical issues. The exhibition is available to the public online in the virtually recreated UBS Art Gallery until January 4, 2022.