Discover Miami’s Art History
Miami has been undergoing an art renaissance for decades Year-round creative energy, art festivals, and leading contemporary museums that are indicative of the city weren’t always the norm. In fact, the change was inspired by one event that sparked it all. From the humble beginnings of the local art scene to where the city is today on the global map, discover Miami’s art history.
Only a few decades ago, there were hardly any museums in Miami. The University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum was the first art museum in South Florida to spring up in 1950. Followed by the Miami Art Museum (later renamed Pérez Art Museum Miami), Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Frost Museum, Miami collectors soon opened their private collections to visitors.
Private collectors and real estate development in the city are credited with Miami’s artistic progression, but Art Basel was the catalyst that forever reshaped the city. Beginning in Basel, Switzerland in the 70s, the most important contemporary art fair in the world came to Miami in 2002 after the directors were convinced that the city could draw interest, wealth, and talent from Latin America and North America. The annual four-day festival held in early December made Miami an international center for art. Hundreds of galleries from 35 countries and over 4,000 artists draw over 80,000 art dealers, artists, collectors, and enthusiasts from around the world. More contemporary galleries, museums, and the rise of the Wynwood Art District soon followed Art Basel’s inception. The significant growth of local art in the last few decades can almost entirely be ascribed to Art Basel.
Inspired by the fair that started it all, Miami Art Week runs alongside Art Basel. More than 20 art fairs, 1,200 participating galleries, and pop-up satellite events like digital activations, musical performances, and culinary events take over the city for the most exciting week of the year. Big name Art Week shows like Design Miami, SCOPE, Spectrum, NADA Art Fair, PINTA Miami, and CONTEXT have helped to make Miami a leading contemporary art city.
American artist James Turrell said “all art is contemporary art because it had to be made when it was now.” For Miami, contemporary art is its trademark. The changing demographics of the city helped bring important Latin American works to Miami, a characteristic that carries on at museums and commercial galleries around the city. Visit premier contemporary art museums like the Pérez Art Museum Miami, The Wolfsonian, The Bass, Museum of Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Rubell Museum. Contemporary galleries such as the Gary Nader Art Centre, The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE, The Bonnier Gallery, and Emerson Dorsch are always inspiring to visit. If you want to serendipitously explore on foot, we suggest you start in the Wynwood Arts District. The streets are lined with colorful graffiti, murals, galleries, and studio spaces. Wander the Design District for large-scale artworks, fine art galleries, the second Saturday Art Walk, and the de la Cruz Collection.
Sagamore Hotel is always pushing the boundaries when it comes to ground-breaking content, expression, and immersive experiences. Known for rotating experiences of museum-quality art year-round, Miami’s original “art hotel” is committed to offering a multicultural platform that supports and builds partnerships with local and international organizations that work together to promote the growth of art. From insta-worthy art spaces to where to find free art in Miami, stay up to date with the Sagamore Blog for everything ‘art’.
Enjoy 24-hour access to our latest exhibition during your stay at The Sagamore Hotel. Choose from our best rates and special offers when you book direct with Sagamore, an iconic Miami Beach destination known for its unique collection of contemporary art, spacious suites, and prime location only steps from the Art Deco District, The Bass, and the white sands of SoBe.