Thousands of people flocked to the Miami Beach Convention Center Wednesday for a preview of Art Basel, as the 12th edition of the event again grabs the world art spotlight.
A well-heeled international crowd is in town to buy and to sell at Art Basel in Miami Beach and at multiple satellite events in Wynwood and the Design District.
Art Basel, which officially lasts four days, kicks off Thursday. The economic impact for the week of assorted events is estimated to be more than $500 million.
"But not one penny of taxpayers’ dollars have gone into this fair here,” art collector and patron Norman Braman said. “It’s truly like having a Super Bowl in Miami every year without having the public put up the dollars."
Art aficionados and collectors turned out at the convention center Wednesday, and so did renowned artist Lawrence Carrol.
"We’ve just been to a few booths so far, seen more of the classic works so far, Picasso, things like this, which is wonderful to see. A beautiful Lucian Freud painting, a beautiful Fontana,” Carrol said.
Miami-based cruise line owner Micky Arison, who also owns the Miami Heat, spoke about the economic impact of Art Basel.
"Obviously the whole town’s full. Traffic’s crazy,” he said. “But it’s great for the economy so it’s fantastic, especially this time of year where things would normally be very quiet.”