Art Basel on the Cheap: an Incredibly Simple Guide to an Overwhelming Spectacle

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As someone who’s covered Art Basel for twelve years, for New Times and then HuffPost, you learn a thing or two.  Let’s try to make this simple. Because Art Basel isn’t for locals. But you can still have a really good time and not spend any money if you know where to go.

Stay Away From the Fairs

That means no to the actual Art Basel — the main event at the convention center. It’s vulgar and insanely overpriced this year, $60. You’re not missing much, we promise. Stay away from all the fairs, Scope, Nada, Pulse, Art Miami, Aqua, Maroon, No Pico, Mahogany, Misogyny, Philanthropy and Losewood (the hawt counterpart to Wynwood) –hopefully you realize half of those are made up.

Downtown Is The Spot

Okay. So this started a couple of years back and it’s getting bigger. Moshe Mana, the New Jersey based real estate tycoon, the dude that owns most of Wynwood, bought up a big chunk of Downtown.

Like the part of town that for 358 days out of the year is filled with our homeless. Well, this week it is on fire. In partnership with Juxtapose Magazine, and Superchief Gallery, there are about twenty buildings that are activated with all sorts of cool happenings. It’s an art crawl.

It’s like Art Basel and Wynwood used to be.

If you want a beer, pop into 7/11 and grab one for $2.00 rather than $8 at the bar. Head to one of the malls that are usually abandoned and are now fully activated with up and coming artists from New York, LA and Miami.

Find the Rawpop Party at the old abandoned Macy’s.

Wow, that party was dope. It’s an immersive art experience like no other using performance artists, many local. It was free but now they are charging. But be smart. Wait till someone comes out and ask for their bracelet. Then go to the front and say you are re-entering.

Worked for us. Psst. That was a long line.

Let’s speed this up.

Wynwood

Tread lightly. It will be a zoo.

Park far away. Take a Citibike in.

Bring a flask.

Little Haiti

Do your homework. But there is some fire in there.

Take Moksha and the Laundromat Gallery as examples.

Design District

Tread lightly but fun. ICA and Locust Projects are great.

Miami Beach

Are you on drugs? Unless you have a jet-pack to cross the Bay.

Art Basel In Conclusion

Tis the season to see folly . . .

La, la, la, la la la..

Be safe out there and have fun.

#BaselTov

J.J. Colagrande

J.J. Colagrande has written about Miami culture for fifteen years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He is the author of Reduce Heat Continue to Boil and Decò 2.0.