Without wishing to undermine the artistic panorama of Miami in early 2002, the "Latin" city was then only attractive to tourism for its beaches and nightclubs on the famous Ocean Drive. However, little by little, I began to appreciate what the artist Glexis Novoa told me when I arrived: "This city is going to change drastically and become an essential cultural reference not only for the American scene, but also for the Latin one".
This change was perceived when there were signs of recovery in areas near the commercial downtown; a change that had begun with the Industrial Design District, thanks to the vision of intelligent real estate investors like Craig Robins, who was already an important collector of contemporary art.
The panorama would be further transformed when the directors of Art Basel, the most prestigious and established fair in Europe with the support of the Swiss bank UBS, would decide to expand its market and see in Miami the promise and key place that would two financial sectors: that of the United States and the emerging Latin American market.
By the end of 2001, the first Art Basel Miami would be canceled due to the financial insecurity of a country in crisis. However, the Swiss were not wrong, and in 2002 they would celebrate the inaugural edition with 160 invited galleries, attracting 30,000 visitors.
From the beginning, the fair became one of the most attractive events in the hemisphere during the winter season. Fifteen years later, Miami has effectively become a referential capital and leader in the latest trends in contemporary art. In this context, Latin American art has been revalued within more international standards, at the same level as any art produced in the United States and Europe, places of constant reference.
Today, Art Basel Miami Beach is home to 50,000 square feet of diverse sections. At the same time, it offers two cinema programs, installation of works in public spaces, as well as almost 20 fairs in unison. For this 15th Edition of 2016, 269 galleries from 29 countries around the world are expected to participate, among which Latin America includes Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.