The 9 Best Performances and Projects to See During Miami’s Art Basel Week

Interactive and performance art have been everywhere this year, and Miami is no exception. With events popping up all over town, from dance pieces choreographed by Shen Wei and Ryan McNamara to artist-designed bowling and basketball, there’s no lack of exciting happenings around town. We’ve assembled the most anticipated performances, projects, and installations not to be missed during Art Basel Miami.

1. “Shen Wei: In Black, White and Gray” at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design 

Well known as the lead choreographer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, Shen Wei debuts a new series of paintings at MDC Museum of Art + Design in downtown Miami’s Freedom Tower just in time for the fairs, to be accompanied by five public dance performances over the course of the weekend. The choreography, performed by Shen Wei Dance Arts, is in direct dialogue with the 11 paintings on display in what is Wei’s first U.S  museum exhibition, dark and moody canvases that fuse traditional Chinese ink drawing with Western oil painting, capturing the same strong gusts of movement that can be seen in dance. Says Wei of his multi-disciplinary practice, “I was not taught the arts separately and I don’t separate them in my work.” Wei creates every element of his performances, from sets to makeup; this will be Shen Wei Dance Arts’ second performance in Miami to be presented by MDC Live Arts, the first of which was Wei’s Rite of Spring in 2003. Entrance is free but requires online registration

Performances are Dec. 5–7 at the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd.; full schedule of times here.

2. Gallery Pop-Ups and Activations at the Miami Beach EDITION 

Gallerist and former Work of Art judge on Bravo Bill Powers is taking over the new Miami Beach EDITION hotel with a series of pop-up galleries and other art events; Powers says his aim in coordinating this project was to find ways to “activate the space during its inaugural Art Basel Miami in a fun, unpretentious way.” The festivities begin on Wednesday, with an opening preview and book signing at the four galleries setting up shop in the poolside bungalows. Powers’s own Half Gallery, shows new paintings by Genieve Figgis, along with his Hamptons-based Harper’s Books, with work by Enoc Perez and a signing with Jordan Wolfson; Leo Fitzpatrick and Nate Lowman’s Home Alone 2 Gallery, present an installation by Sue Williams; and Richard Prince’s gallery, rare book dealer and publisher Fulton Ryder, launches a new book by Marilyn Minter with an accompanying exhibition. Also not to be missed at EDITION, Daniel Heidkamp, Jules de Balincourt, Blair Thurman, and Will Cotton have designed an exclusive series of bowling balls for EDITION’s subterranean bowling alley. The Miami Beach EDITION, which hotelier Ian Schrager is opening December1st, is housed in a  building designed by Morris Lapidus, the architect behind many other iconic local hotels.

Opening and book signing on Dec. 3, 6–9 p.m. Pop-ups run through Dec. 7. 

3. Snarkitecture x Alchemist, “AIRBALL” and an installation at the Delano South Beach

If basketball is more your sport than bowling, head to the Snarkitecture-designed court, “AIRBALL,” presented in collaboration with Miami Beach clothing retailer Alchemist. Located near Alchemist’s storefront at the Herzog & de Meuron-designed carpark at 1111 Lincoln Road, the space has been customized by Snarkitecture (the art and architecture collective of Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen), who reinterpreted the traditional basketball court into an all-white arena with bleachers where you can hang out and watch the action. Alchemist has also invited a group of artists and designers—including Kehinde Wiley and Rick Owens—to create a limited run of products for “AIRBALL.” Snarkitecture has also invaded the lobby of the Delano South Beach, installing a ten-foot-tall, all-white (as always) marble run perched on a mirrored plinth, where visitors are invited to drop black marbles in at different points and watch them follow the gigantic toy’s winding paths.

AIRBALL at 1111 Lincoln Road and the Marble Run at the Delano South Beach, 1695 Collins Ave. are open Dec. 1–7.

4. Evening Film Screenings at Art Basel in Miami Beach 

This year Art Basel in Miami Beach presents over 80 films in the fair’s Film sector, with multiple daily screenings in the Miami Beach Convention Center Film Library and nightly at SoundScape Park, on December 3rd–7th. Films and videos have been selected by David Gryn, director of Artprojx in London; a full schedule of what to see can be found online. Some highlights from the evening outdoor screenings, which are shown on a 7,000 square-foot projection wall of the New World Center (and free of charge!), include: 

- Jayson Musson’s “Art Thoughtz with Hennessy Youngman: Beuys-Z” (2011) presented by Salon 94 

- Hayal Pozanti’s animated paintings presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery 

- Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost’s “For a Better Life” (2006) and “OWT” (2007) presented by MOT International

- Artist collective Leo Gabin’s “Oh Baby” (2013) presented by Elizabeth Dee and Peres Projects 

- A special Miami edit of Parker Ito’s “Wipeout XL” (2014) 

- Marcel Dzama’s “A Game of Chess” (2011) presented by Sies + Höke and David Zwirner

- Cécile B. Evans’s “The Brightness” (2014), courtesy of the artist

- Jon Rafman’s “Popova-Lissitzky Office Complex” and “Juan Gris Dream House” (both 2013), courtesy of the artist

Art Basel in Miami Beach will present film screenings at Soundscape Park on Dec. 3 at 8, 9, and 10 p.m.; Dec. 4 at 10 p.m.; Dec. 5 at 8 and 9 p.m.; and Dec. 6 at 8 and 9 p.m. Complete listing of films online.

5. “MEƎM 4 Miami: A Story Ballet About the Internet”by Ryan McNamara at the Miami Grand Theater

Commissioned by Performa and presented by Art Basel, performance artist Ryan McNamara’s immersive ballet explores the “digital architectures” of the online world and the ways in which society engages with itself in this virtual space. Originally performed at Manhattan’s Connelly Theater in November, the performance is touted as a total “experience,” employing a mash-up of dance and music genres to translate the abrupt, constantly-in-motion internet world into reality. 

“MEƎM 4 Miami” has performances Dec. 3 and 4 at 8 and 10:30 p.m. at the Miami Grand Theater, 5445 Collins Ave.; tickets are available online for $30. 

6. Artist Curated Projects’s Debut Booth and Contemporary Poetry at NADA Miami Beach

A new exhibitor this year at NADA Miami Beach, Artist Curated Projects was started in 2008 by Eve Fowler and Lucas Michael. Originally based out of Fowler’s L.A. apartment, the group—which has expanded to include some 135 artists—now presents shows in other artists’ homes, in non-profit spaces, online, and beyond. This year marks ACP’s art fair debut, with a project booth at NADA featuring paintings and works on paper by Sam Gordon alongside work by Rachelle Sawatsky. Also at NADA, Sam Gordon has organized “Can I read you a poem?”, part of ACP’s ongoing Contemporary Poetry series (which was also presented last Spring at NADA New York). The readings are conducted by Ana Božičević and Sophia Le Fraga, who create and perform under the name not_I.

Visit ACP’s booth at NADA Miami Beach at the Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Ave., Dec. 4–7. Contemporary Poetry performances are scheduled for Friday at NADA, 12–3 p.m. and at the Bas Fisher Invitational, 6–9 p.m., and again on Saturday at UNTITLED, 12–3 p.m.

7. WALLPAPERS Site-Specific Installations at the Deauville Beach Resort

For the second edition of #ArtsyTakeover, Artsy has teamed up with artist collective WALLPAPERS to create two site-specific installations at the Deauville Beach Resort (home of NADA Miami Beach). WALLPAPERS’ innovative, digital work fills both Artsy’s booth at NADA as well as one of the hotel’s guest rooms; net-supported video projections transform the room into an interactive viewing space. Preview some edits from the installations online. Founded in 2011, WALLPAPERS is made up of Sara Ludy, Nicolas Sassoon, and Sylvain Sailly; the trio create large-scale video installations, “wallpapering” different venues with digital patterns they have each created. #ArtsyTakeover is curated by Artsy’s own Julia Colavita and Nate Hitchcock of East Hampton Shed, an exhibitor at the fair.

Visit WALLPAPERS’s #ArtsyTakeover booth at NADA Miami Beach at the Deauville Beach Resort, 6701 Collins Ave., Dec. 4–7. The hotel room will be open 4–8 p.m. on Dec. 4–6, and 12–4 p.m. on Dec. 7. 

8. Peter Marino-Designed Pavilion at Design Miami/ 

On the occasion of receiving the inaugural Design Visionary award at Design Miami/, architect, collector, and design advisor Peter Marino has created a stand-alone exhibition space to show pieces from his private collection alongside his own designs. Inside a specially designed leather box-like pavilion at the fair, antique and contemporary chairs are joined by architectural maquettes and images that Marino has collected over the years. Marino’s series of cast bronze boxes are also on display. 

Visit Peter Marino’s exhibition space at Design Miami/, adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center, Dec. 3–7. 

9. PULSE PLAY 

A platform for new media and digital art, PLAY is presented at PULSE Miami Beach by Tumblr and curated by Lindsay Howard. Six video works, ranging in length from less than a minute to nearly five minutes, explore society’s current trend towards oversaturation of information, noise, images—all the things that are constantly bombarding us in today’s techno-oriented world. The artists featured—Tilo Baumgärtel, Alexandra Gorczynski, Carlo Ferraris, and Tracey Snelling and Idan Levin—visually navigate this world of noise, variously transforming, observing, and succumbing to it. PLAY’s content is shown on three screens at the fair and can also be viewed on PULSE’s tumblr.

View PULSE Play screenings daily at PULSE Miami Beach, 4601 Collins Ave., Dec. 4–7. 

Kate Haveles

Explore Artsy’s Guide to Art Basel in Miami Beach Week 2014.

Image and video credits:

Shen Wei Dance Arts, Undivided Divided, at the Park Avenue Armory. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

Enoc Perez, Untitled (Overpainted Photograph), Oil and oil crayon on paper, 8 5/8 X 11 1/8 inches, courtesy the artist.

Courtesy of Snarkitecture.

Marcel Dzama, A Game of Chess, 2011, 14'04. Courtesy Sies + Höke.

Ryan McNamara, MEEM, digital C-print, 20"x30", edition of 5. Courtesy of the artist.

Courtesy of WALLPAPERS.

Courtesy of Peter Marino Architect.