Guest Post – Art Week Miami Tips for Art Aficionados and Novice Collectors by Eric Smith

Finding Affordable and Accessible Art
Amidst Art Week Miami’s More Expensive, Eccentric Offerings
By: Eric Smith, CEO of Artexpo International

“It’s interesting… but is it art?” It’s a question you sometimes hear at Miami Art Week, as the ratio of quirky, kitschy and downright eccentric art seems to soar along with the event’s exponential growth each year. Ultra contemporary art certainly has its place, but is there still a market for buyers interested in more accessible offerings?

Absolutely, says Eric Smith, CEO of Artexpo Miami, which is now in its second year in the Wynwood District. “There will always be a place for more extreme, conceptual art,” says Smith, “but the fact is, there are a lot of people who come to Miami Art Week just looking for a few innovative new pieces for their home or office.”

Each December, more than 50,000 art collectors, gallery owners and designers descend upon Miami, which has become the go-to winter destination for the fine art community. The city hosts more than 20 art fairs at that time—from storied giants like Art Basel, Art Miami, Scope and Pulse, to boutique fairs like Artexpo Miami, Ink and Aqua. Admidst all the excitement, the crowds and media tend to swarm around the more show-stopping, eclectic artworks, just as people tend to cluster around über-luxe Porches, Lamborghinis and Maseratis at car shows. But when it comes time to buy, most people favor elegant and affordable over out there and overpriced. In the end, there aren’t all that many people who actually want to buy—or can afford to—a giant $150,000 statue of, say, Donald Duck in Communist attire.

If you’re one of the many art lovers who are looking for more down-to-earth, wallet-friendly art finds, try the following tips:

1. Hit the Big Fairs for Fun, But Shop the Smaller Fairs
By all means, visit the big, iconic art fairs that started it all. Art Basel, Art Miami, Scope and others will offer you no end of extravagant eye candy, entertaining performance art and fodder for thought. But when it comes to shopping, be sure to pop in the smaller galleries and art fairs, unless your décor—and wallet—can accommodate more outlandish, big-ticket items. Must-see stops include: Artexpo Miami, Aqua, Nada, Pool, Verge, Overture Miami and Design Miami.

2. Scour the Galleries for One-of-a-Finds
Sometimes, wandering the maze of massive art fairs can feel a little overwhelming. If you’re looking for smaller doses and more intimate settings in which to explore art, you’ll enjoy the smattering of galleries in the trendy Wynwood Art District. Recently named “the 6th most stylish neighborhood” in the world by Complex magazine, Wynwood is home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections. You’ll have a wonderful time exploring this artist’s haven, and you’re sure to meet some interesting new people too.

3. Mingle with Exhibitors, Ask About Their Offerings
At an art fair or opening, exhibitors are really only exhibiting a small selection of their work. In many cases, they bring their higher-end items. If there’s an artist whose work you really like, approach them (or the owner of the gallery or publisher who is exhibiting their work) and find out if they have pieces that are more in your budget. Ask if they offer limited-edition, archival-quality reproductions of their work, as many artists do. Or if the work is very large, ask if they do smaller works. It never hurts to ask, and besides, it gives you an opportunity to get to know the artist and learn about their inspiration, technique and larger body of work.

by Eric Smith, CEO with Artexpo International