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Art Basel Miami Beach: The Hottest Event of the Year Canceled

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Due to unfortunate matters the 2020 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach will be canceled until next year. As the pandemic continues to be widespread, the restrictions on large scale events have left Art Basel unable to be at full production. For this reason, we take a look at the history of Art Basel, its economic impact on South Florida, and more.


Art Basel is an international art fair that has highlighted the global gallery community and artists alike. Dating back to the 1970s when Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner, and Balz Hilt, art dealers from Basel, Switzerland organized an art fair to showcase contemporary art. It was aimed to attract art collectors, newcomers, and overseas buyers.

As the fair gained international press, it soon became the backbone of the art industry. Progressively expanding each year by devoting sectors to film, photography, and more. Not until 2002, did Art Basel hit the streets of Miami Beach, Florida.

The inaugural show in Miami Beach was the launchpad for growth for Art Basel. Introducing a new fair layout to the art industry, the Art United Platform. This platform provided the 160 galleries from 23 countries the chance to have there own exhibition booths in an open floor plan environment.

Also popularized was Art Basel Conversations, a panel of leading art members who provided authentic information to the visitors. On topics including collecting, exhibiting art, and more.

As the 2002 show came to a close it was noted that the 30,000 visitors who attended locked in success for the years to come. Fast forward to now, Art Basel Miami is sponsored by UBS and has 80K+ visitors a show.

Online viewing rooms

Art Basel has a large commitment to the art community. To make up for the lack of the physical show in all locations, Art Basel is in the works of a digital initiative. As of right now, there are "two online viewing rooms that have been announced for the fall: ‘OVR:2020’, dedicated to artworks made during 2020 and running from September 23 to 26, and ‘OVR:20c’, which will feature works created between 1900 and 1999 and take place from October 28 to 31." Followed by further viewing rooms in December that will be open to all of the galleries that were accepted to the 2020 edition of Art Basel Miami.

Both online viewing rooms will be limited to 100 exhibitors that will showcase six works at a time. The opening of the Online Viewing Rooms will be exclusive for Art Basel VIP guests for the first 48 hours. A live chat feature will be introduced, providing visitors a chance to engage with galleries.

More details of the online showing rooms will be announced in the next few weeks. As the organization is already certain of hosting the Hong Kong, Basel, and Miami Beach shows in 2021.


Today, Art Basel is the largest art fair worldwide. Each year, the exhibit attracts thousands of celebrities, locals, and art connoisseurs from near and far. In fact, the art show has become a fashion icon in itself. As celebrities - Drake, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cardi B, and more - dress to the tens, looking like there very own art piece.


Ticket prices for Art Basel Miami can range anywhere from $45- $500 depending on the package chosen. A four-day package to the convention center costs $145, per person. Students and seniors receive a special rate of $45. Group prices, tours, and VIP tickets are also offered to attendees.

Gallery Participation

To be an artist featured at Art Basel Miami there is an application that must be complicated on a deadline basis. Before applying, one must create a gallery profile on the Art Basel website. Once completed, you can then submit sector-specific applications.

Step by step instructions are available to watch here.

Participation Cost

The 2019 Art Basel Miami show implemented a new sliding-scale pricing system. Providing smaller and mid-sized galleries a chance to be a part of the show while being able to handle the finances. To give an estimate, Art Basel's 2019 Swiss fair cost about "$785 per square meter for a booth of 25 square meters, and about $935 per square meter for a booth of 124 square meters." In the prior year, it costed 8% more for smaller galleries.

Larger galleries do pay the price as Art Basel continues to increase the cost of the booth size.

economical Impact

Just last year, Art Basel Miami brought in 81,000 people and showcased over 2$ billion worth of art. Although Art Basel does not release financial stats, analysts indicate the event brings over 500 million dollars into the local economy.

Without Art Basel taking place this year, huge losses are expected to hit Miami especially hard. Millions of dollars will be lost in tax revenue from art sales, not to mention the extensive financial losses in the hospitality industry. According to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotel occupancy rises by 30,000 during the duration of Art Basel bringing hotel occupancy to full capacity.

This has an economic impact of at least $15 million on Miami's hotel industry alone. The food and beverage industry will also incur grave losses including tour guides, car rentals and shopping centers.

When the art show was first canceled, Mayor Dan Gelber issued that he has offered to waive the rental fee for the center. Although the city did recently remodel the site on the basis of the fair's request. Mr. Gelber is aware of the current financial difficulties of Art Basel due to the cancellation of all of their fairs worldwide.

Words by Brooke Klaiman, Images courtesy of Art Basel. Picasso gif/animation courtesy of


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