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December 06, 2012

Art Basel Miami Beach: The Digital Revolution

By Alexandra Wolfe | Art, Miami Art Basel

Art Basel Miami Beach party
Photo by David X Prutting/BFANYC

Art Basel Miami Beach, the behemoth bacchanal that began as a mere art fair just over decade ago, first sprawled into South Beach, then headed across the causeway into downtown Miami, Wynwood and even Bal Harbour. This year it reached a whole new dimension—a digital one, that is. With online platforms finally taking center stage, the fair’s virtual presence is more prominent than ever before.

Last year the concept burst onto the scene with Art.sy’s star-studded Soho Beach House barbecue. Chanel will sponsor the event again this year, with hosts including Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova, Peter Thiel, Carter Cleveland and Larry Gagosian, and judging by the impenetrable guest list, it appears to be the week’s most coveted invite. But Art.sy isn’t stopping at a beach blowout this year—it has partnered with Design Miami to create an online space where Art.sy’s more than 100,000 registered users and 250,000 monthly visitors can shop the fair. Art.sy’s competitors are in on the act, too. Artspace, an online marketplace for contemporary art, will cohost NetJets’ annual Collectors Cocktail at the Bath Club, and online boutique Grey Area will show off its wares at the Standard Hotel. And even much of the art itself has gone digital, with major installations like InterContinental Miami’s 19-story LED Digital Canvas being unveiled on the hotel’s façade December 6.