art fair in miami

Every year, Americans head south in the winter for a growing conglomeration of art and design fairs. In early December, the art world descended upon Miami for a weekend-long collection of more than 20 art fairs. In the next few months Southern California will see a handful of fairs, beginning with Los Angeles in January (the L.A. Art Show, Art Contemporary L.A., and Photo L.A.) and Palm Springs in February (Palm Springs Fine Art Fair and the Modernism Show). 

art basel miami interior

Folks line the halls of convention centers and pop-up tents for these weekend-long parties, taking in thousands of works on sale, along with a never-ending series of art installations, performances and symposia by day. At night, luxury lifestyle brands foot the bill at any number of exclusive parties (see Pae White's city block-sized oceanfront installation from 2009 below)...Don't worry about getting a formal invite. Someone always knows someone in the art world.

art installations miami

To get your hands on a piece of art work, you can expect to pay as much as $1 million, but the window shopping is free and as good of a reason as any to attend an art fair. And for that, we recommend taking in Design Miami. There was no shortage of eye candy at this year's event (December 5-9, 2012), from the inflated tube foyer by NYC-based Snarkitecture pictured below... 

design miami foyer

...to the design installations inside: 

art installation at design miami

design miami sculpture installation

design miami vignette

A stark yet composed contrast was the name of the game at Design Miami, which got me thinking about how to get this same effect at home. Use throw pillows with bold patterns. Contemporary wall sconces with raw bronze finishes and rustic wood furniture. Graphic, text-based wall art. Effective pop of color such as red or orange modern table lamps.  

Modern Design

Zuo Haxby Walnut and Glass Modern Coffee Table, Set of 2 Black and White Zig Zag Toss Pillows, Possini Lighting on the Square Bronze Modern Bath Wall Light, Splash Modern Coral Ceramic Rectangular 26-Inch-H Table Lamp, Family Rules White on Black 20" High Motivational Wall Art

Of course, if you've got some extra wall space and are in the market, art fairs are an excellent opportunity to find original art too. Remember, dealers are there to sell artwork and to that end, many are willing to offer payment plans and even discounts on your first piece of artwork. It's also possible to find work from emerging artists at a very reasonable price. So while it's too late this year for Miami, head to Southern California in January and February. The sun will be out and the art will too.

Images: The Saunders Blog, No Artificial, Backstage At, Ur Design, Paperblog, The Decorating Diva