A Modern Art Lover’s Guide to Miami
Every December, art lovers from all over the world travel to Miami for Art Basel. This visually stimulating celebration is North America’s largest international contemporary art fair showcasing works of art by more than 4,000 artists.
Although Art Basel is considered the headliner of Miami’s art scene, you haven’t missed a thing if you haven’t been to the fair or the glitzy parties. With a growing collection of contemporary works, Miami has cemented its reputation as a year-round hotspot for modern art, with top-notch museums and an ever-evolving street art scene in the Wynwood neighborhood that has gained international recognition.
Ahead, a modern art lover’s guide to Miami.
What to see
The beauty of Miami’s art scene is that you can admire it in a gallery or museum or witness it as you stroll through the neighborhoods, enjoying the pastel-hued Art Deco buildings accented with neon lights in South Beach. or eye-catching Wynwood murals.
Here are some must-sees in town.
A free museum in the heart of Miami’s Design District, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami is where you’ll find some of the greatest experiences in contemporary art. See the exhibition “Betye Saar: Serious Moonlight” (through April 17, 2022), which includes rarely exhibited installations from the 1980s and 1990s created by Saar, a pioneer of black feminist art. The art is influenced by Saar’s research trips to Haiti, Mexico and Nigeria in the 1970s and they explore concepts of ritual and community as well as cosmology and the African diaspora. Among the eight facilities is Oasis (1984) which includes colored glass globes of various sizes and a pink wicker chair strewn with candles planted in the sand.
Start your street art exploration at Wynwood Walls, an outdoor urban graffiti museum designed in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, an entrepreneur and place-maker with the idea of turning Wynwood’s vast stockpile of warehouses into giant canvases of graffiti. The art-splattered buildings with abstract art and portraits of the 25th to 26th Street complex are carefully preserved, but the surrounding neighborhood has a more unpredictable street art scene. Book a visit with Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide and tour the Wynwood Murals (on foot, by bike, by buggy) with artists who have the pulse of the neighborhood.
To continue the trendy theme of your artistic itinerary, take tickets to Superblue Miami, a 30,000 square foot immersive digital art experience that occupies a former warehouse. Fantastical exhibits include mirror mazes and color-saturated digital flower gardens. The exhibition is in front of the Rubell Museum, which is one of the largest private collections of contemporary art in the world, with 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists (and growing). Eighty percent of the 100,000 square foot campus is accessible to the public.
Where to stay
Continue your art-focused vacation at Kimpton Epic Miami, a waterfront hotel that offers a new bespoke artist-in-residence program showcasing the works of local artists. Through December 2022, the hotel’s 16th-floor hallway will be a rotating exhibition space showcasing original works and live art activations. the artist currently in residence is Sophia Wong, who draws inspiration from her Jamaican Chinese and British Bahamian cultural backgrounds for her paintings and mixed media that explore themes of humanity, culture and the journey to self.
The newly renovated 411-room hotel is located near the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, and has thoughtful amenities like free yoga mats, European-style cruisers for touring the neighborhood on two wheels, and a pair of pools on the 16th floor with daybeds and private cabanas.
The presence on site of Zuma Miamia Japanese hotspot serving sushi, sashimi and river views as well as F.P. Journe Housewhich showcases high-end wristwatches and features an open-air cigar lounge and Bar Journe, a stylish 10-seat rare spirits bar.
Where to eat
For a memorable brunch or lunch in Miami’s Arts District, plates are a work of art to The gardener, which is French for “gardener”. Greenhouse-like, the menu of starred chef Alain Verzeroli favors vegetables and changes with the seasons. A prix fixe lunch menu features choices like pumpkin vichyssoise with grilled honey crispy apples and Florida mahi mahi with roasted cauliflower mash.
One of Miami’s favorite Instagram spots is Area 31, which is located on the 16th floor of the Kimpton Epic and offers sparkling city views and overlooks Biscayne Bay. Seasonal cocktails are made with fresh herbs picked from the restaurant’s garden and seafood dishes including jumbo prawns, oysters, fried or grilled whole fish and steaks.
Or, Osteria Morini has a menu full of craving meats and cheeses and homemade pastas like cappelletti with truffled ricotta and melted butter or squid ink pasta with prawns in the dish of torcia nera.