Redesigned Miami Beach Convention Center Hosts Art Basel Miami Beach 2018

  • Photo by ©Tom Clark, Courtesy of Fentress Architects

  • Photo by ©Tom Clark, Courtesy of Fentress Architects

  • Photo by ©Tom Clark, Courtesy of Fentress Architects

Art Basel Miami Beach is at the epicenter of the art world. As America’s premier contemporary art fair, 83,000 art enthusiasts visited the newly renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). This year, 268 galleries—including 29 exhibitors—from 34 countries showcased their work with leading galleries from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The 17th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach featured the design of the renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. Designed by Fentress Architects and its collaborators West 8 and Arquitectonica, the new MBCC incorporates a 500,000 square foot exhibit hall, four new ballrooms, and 127,000 square feet of additional meeting spaces that provide flexible spaces for the fair’s multifaceted displays.

Replacing the MBCC’s 1989 façade, visitors are welcomed by a gleaming glass volume. The remarkable, hurricaneresistant exterior building envelope features 500 angled aluminum “fins” to create an undulating façade reminiscent of the nearby ocean waves.

The Art Basel organizers were most excited about the new Grand Ballroom with 60,000 square feet of columnless space—giving the convention center a functional setting to present large-scale installations and performances. Filling the space was a special commission by the Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas.

The piece, “Autorreconstrucción: To Insist, to Insist, to Insist…,” is a multidisciplinary installation that builds on Cruzvillegas previous work of autoconstrucción (self-construction) and produces sculptures created using locally sourced materials. The result is a sculptural object suspended from the ceiling in an open space that includes periodic performances featuring the choreographer and co-creator Bárabara Foulkes. To celebrate the addition of a new space for displaying large-scale works, organizers invited the non-paying public to attend scheduled performances of “Autorreconstrucción.”