Watch CBS News

Art Basel returns to Miami Beach for 21st year

Art Basel returns to Miami Beach for 21st year
Art Basel returns to Miami Beach for 21st year 04:35

MIAMI BEACH — You feel as though you've stepped into another world in the 21st year of Art Basel Miami Beach.

The world-class fair features 277 galleries from 33 countries showcasing the highest quality of modern and contemporary art. 

During the morning press conference, Art Basel CEO Noah Horowitz emphasized their commitment to Miami as a year-round cultural destination.

"I think Miami today is much more of a resident home for artists and cultural communities than it's ever been," Horowitz stated.

"But, we have a responsibility and a duty as a business and as a platform to help sustain that," he added. "I think we do a lot as a catalyst to bring it together and to create the possibility for those connections year round."

The impact of Art Basel goes beyond the canvas, generating a reported $500 million in economic influence. Newly appointed Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner highlights that Art Basel delivers more than just numbers.

"80,000 visitors and guests descend upon our city collectors galleries, but also for our residents to be right here and be able to enjoy the literally the most elegant and world-class contemporary art of the 20 [and] 21st centuries right here," Meiner said.

Inside the exclusive VIP event reserved for discerning buyers, we discover masterpieces in painting, sculpture, photography, and more. Prices are steep and negotiations are not always on the table. Like the shovel sculpture.

"I made an offer on this shovel, but I hear it's 5 million, so now I have to dig my way out of it," joked CBS News Miami's Lisa Petrillo, standing in front of it.

Some attendees dress to be seen, even their canine companions in couture. Some engage in socializing and champagne sipping around the art.

" I'm sure you're looking for art, but also, isn't it like a social hour here too?" Petrillo asked one attendee.

"Yes, that's what I'm hoping it be and why I am pretty and pink," they responded.

We spotted tennis superstar Serena Williams pretty in pink as well. Serious local buyers Dane and Alan Lieberman say there's no better place to be.

"We go to art fairs all over the world This is the biggest, best, most important art fair in the entire world and it's in our backyard so it makes sense," he said.

Louisiana artist Jammie Holmes features two remarkable pieces at Marianne Boesky's New York gallery, reflecting on his journey from small town to the global stage.

"Do you pinch yourself that you grew up in Louisiana sketching, and now you're showing at the premiere art fair in the world?", Petrillo asked.

"100%. I'm always thinking about that like, I don't know how I went from Thibodeaux to Miami," Holmes said.

Even seasoned New York gallerist David Nolan admits to feeling the opening day jitters.

"There's always butterflies. It's like an actor going on stage," Nolan said.

"If you're not a little nervous, you won't do a good enough job. I think you have to be on the edge." 

Art Basel opens to the public on Friday. For more info:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.