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Why Techies Should Celebrate Art Basel Miami

Every year, I am stunned to see how many fellow entrepreneurs and techies make the trip down to Miami for Art Basel. Since the city-wide takeover is in early December, maybe everyone is looking to escape the cold, winter weather for a bit of fun in the sun. Art Basel Miami draws a large, global audience every year and the numbers should continue growing considering the recently completed renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Noah Horowitz, Director Americas, Art Basel, commented: ‘This year marks an exciting new chapter for our Miami Beach show. The now completely renovated and state of the art Miami Beach Convention Center enables us to deliver a fair of the highest caliber and sophistication, opening up unprecedented possibilities – as we have been able to illustrate with the staging of Abraham Cruzvillegas’ multidisciplinary installation that we presented in partnership with The Kitchen. The quality of work and presentations by our exhibitors have also never been higher and attendance by private collectors and institutions continues to be strong across all regions.’

Polish The Year Off With Style

For many tech entrepreneurs, their event calendar probably includes Web Summit in Lisbon in November and CES in Las Vegas in January. In between, is a great opportunity to attend a non-tech event of massive scale. There may not be an expo of gadgets to browse, or tons of speakers to listen to on stage, but there were hundreds of gallerists from 35 countries and 83,000 people in attendance.

Art Basel Miami is the type of event where you build real relationships because though you maybe networking, you are doing it in a very exciting and fun environment where the hype keeps the party going. Five days of gallery hopping while fitting in some side events, and then topping it off with after parties and concerts sprawling across all neighborhoods of Miami is a great way to finish off the year with your professional peers.

Get Inspired by Art, Music, and Fashion

It’s not quite Burning Man, but there is self-expression happening all over between the artists, curators, and musicians in town. Art comes in all shapes and sizes. There was one installation that was printing every domain name blocked by the Great Firewall of China on receipt paper. Maybe that would inspire someone to create some sort of workaround for that. Then there is art like this since renovations allowed for the first time a large-scale performative installation onsite: Abraham Cruzvillegas’ ‘Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist…’.

Courtesy Art Basel

Let’s not forget all of the performing artists in town. Lil Wayne performed an 30-minute set and at Surf Lodge which hosted several other high profile pop-ups. Rosario Dawson and her sustainable fashion line, Studio 189, had set up in the building. Dawson discussed the need to raise awareness on the supply chain of art sales. The concerning factor being that galleries and other middleman, charge high commission fees for selling art pieces for artists.

Addressing this issue, famed musical performer, Swizz Beatz brought his traveling, pop-up gallery boasting a new concept as its name, “No Commission.” The Dean Collection originated in Art Basel as a gallery with a collection supporting artists by giving the full value of their work. From the fashion world, we experienced an event from Lee Kerzner and Style Fashion Week.

Do Something Different

Yes, this is probably more get together than back-to-back meetings but it can still be very productive. You really never know you will meet. Noel Lee, founder and CEO of Monster is a frequent attendee of Art Basel and as are many other tech executives you may be looking to connect with.

Art Basel is an event to appreciate art, life, and self expression and provides an experience you just can’t get anywhere else. SXSW is close but very different. South Beach and the fact that it is in Miami, I think draws large crowds on its own. What a great reason to book it down to Florida and get a natural tan on your back in the middle of winter.

Art Basel 2019, I anticipate should feature more technology driven art installations blurring the lines between magic and science. Especially since the convention center has received a total makeover, the venue is setup to be more tech enabled. Perhaps this is what will get more and more tech entrepreneurs to embrace and engage the art community.