A Designer’s Guide to Miami Art Week

Every year right before Miami Art Week, so many guides and top 10 lists are tossed around that it can be hard to formulate a clear plan. We totally get it: there’s a lot going on, and a lot of noise about what’s going on. To help our fellow designers, the board of AIGA Miami has crafted this design-minded path through the madness, tailored just for you. Not everything is strictly related to our main squeeze, graphic design, but there are plenty of events and installations that are perfect fodder for inspiration and a conceptual refresh, two ingredients essential to creating successfully.

Without further ado, on to our killer recommendations:

New Kid

Faena Festival: This is Not America

Faena’s inaugural festival of installations, performances, and remixed art sounds incredible, and best of all, it’s free. Even more impressively, the festival’s theme comes from a 1987 work with graphic design and branding at its heart: Alfredo Jaar’s animation A Logo for America, which originally ran in Times Square and is now getting the VIP treatment on an LED Jumbotron boated up and down the Miami Beach shoreline, Miami-style. Yes, please.

Pro tip: While the festival is free, reservations are required for the performances and events. Some of the site-specific installations require some strategizing, like Tavares Strachan’s Deco-Drive-neon homage We Belong Here, which will light up Faena Beach only on certain days and times. Plan ahead and go discover it after dark.


The Museums

We know, we know; we’re cheating by bundling these into one. It’s easy to overlook our city’s storied cultural institutions in a week dominated by the dazzle of Basel, but they can be welcome havens from the frenetic energy of the Convention Center and satellite tents—perfect to catch your breath between fairs.

Over at PAMM, revel in nostalgia with the fabulous (and very Florida) pink of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s famous Surrounded Islands—a color choice that feels just as fresh 35 years later—and if you’re a super fan, try to squeeze into Christo’s sold-out talk on December 4 (standby seating only). Then ‘gram yourself silly among the Bass Museum of Art’s social media-friendly rainbow of polar bears by artist Paola Pivi, or head over to ICA Miami for their major survey of work by feminist icon Judy Chicago. Also, MDC’s Museum of Art and Design has a provocative installation on view by the Danish collective Superflex: We Are All in the Same Boat, which nods to a bunch of subjects very topical to Miami such as sea-level rise and refugees. Last but never least,  if you’re looking for an old-school-meets-new-school vibe, visit The Wolfsonian–FIU to see Enter the Design Age, a graphic installation by the Academy Award-winning masters of typography, H5.

Pro tip: While you’re at ICA Miami in the Design District, look across the street and pause to admire the seven-story Museum Garage, new this year and featuring facades by five different architectural firms. It’s a bizarre mash-up inspired by the surrealists’ famous drawing game, the exquisite corpse. Move over, 1111 Lincoln Road—Museum Garage has got your number.  


Design Miami/

Always top of our “don’t miss” list! This year we’re especially pumped for a retrospective of work by the husband-and-wife dream team Pedro Reyes and Carla Fernández, winners of the 2018 Design Miami/ Visionary Awards and the minds behind the fair’s graphic identity, which was inspired by handmade protest signs from the ‘60s. Reyes, a contemporary artist, and Fernández, a fashion designer, have constructed an immersive space enclosed in curved steel walls, and will be discussing their collaboration at a December 5 talk. Consider us intrigued.

P.S. Design Miami/ is hosting a ton of other amazing talks, too, including a couple focused on engaging next-gen designers through higher ed—notably this panel and this conversation between SCAD president Paula Wallace and Google design leader Michael Buzzard.

Pro tip: Look out for Curio, the series of “cabinets of curiosity” compiled by designers, curators, innovators, and gallerists. You’ll spot them between the booths.



As designers we love to surround ourselves with visual inspiration 24/7, not just admire it sometimes on somebody else’s walls—so we’re quite smitten with the idea of an affordable art fair. When you tire of swooning over the blue-chip stuff, take a peek at Superfine! to peruse some fantastic pieces by local artists that are a little friendlier on the wallet. You just might head home with the beginnings of a new art collection.

Pro tip: With preview tickets at only $50, Superfine! has one of the cheapest Vernissage experiences of Miami Art Week. So why not feel like a VIP at a fraction of the cost?



SCOPE has always been a beachy mecca for fans of urban art, and a breath of fresh air with its roster of emerging artists. We’re excited to see SCOPE double down on its dedication to street art and new contemporary through a partnership with Hi-Fructose Magazine and a slew of crazy-cool projects. One in particular that’s generating buzz: Okuda San Miguel’s sculpture installation and live mural painting, which just might cast you as a character in the work. Okuda is known for his kaleidoscopic palette, geometric forms, and infusion of pop, so if you’re looking to spark your imagination, look no further.

Pro tip: Uber XL not quite luxe enough for your Art Week needs? If you’re lucky enough to be a Scope VIP member, try out their VIP Car Service, powered by Porsche. We’re not sure if you’ll make it to that super secret afterparty on time, but hey—at least you’ll feel fancy while you sit in traffic with the rest of us.



There’s really no telling what you’ll see at this artist-organized, unorthodox fair previously housed in the abandoned Ocean Terrace Hotel in North Beach. This year, it has taken up residence in shipping containers in the Arts & Entertainment District in a stripped-down, unusual experience compared with those of its neighboring fairs. Satellite places you in close proximity to artists, performers, and musicians, so opportunity for conversation and discovery abound!

Pro tip: This fair is open in the evening, so you can hang out at Satellite once most of the others have closed. Be sure to check the lineup of music and art performances happening into the wee hours—we like the sound of “10pm til late.”


The Art of Banksy Miami

When the “largest exhibit of Banksy art ever assembled” is happening in your backyard, you simply need to go. It’s explicitly “not authorized by Banksy and not curated in collaboration with the artist” (naturally), but authorized or not, we expect it’s well worth the price of admission.

Pro tip: It’s cool that this is presented in a former factory and all, but the website takes care to note “uneven floors and potential tripping hazards.” Ladies, it might be best to leave the heels behind and bust out the flats for this one.

Thank you to Elina Diaz for the graphics for our Miami Art Week guide.

By AIGA Miami
Published December 2, 2018
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