Miami has yet again survived the wacky, wild madness that is its annual Art Basel celebration. As we’ve written previously, an ever-growing contingent of fairs has sprung up around the main event. Inside their walls lurk some of the chicest parties, A-list-iest celebrities, and funkiest cutting-edge art.

As expected, Basel drew hordes of people to the 305: art world honchos, collectors, celebrity-seekers, artists, and even the occasional violent offender. In the blink of an eye, highways and streets grew clogged with traffic, and soon the paparazzi would descend, helpfully documenting Kylie Jenner’s every move.

Of course, in between the parties and see-and-be-seen events, there was art. Lots and lots of fantabulous art. The larger exhibitions showcase the works of the art world’s most iconic figures, such as Picasso, Basquiat, Miró, Dalí, Calder, and the like. Still, I prefer the smaller shows, where you’re privy to contemporary and emerging artists. Often, those settings are more intimate, and it’s possible to engage in a little chit chat with the creators.

Basel week is a whirlwind, but here’s a look at some of our favorites.

Brickell City Centre’s Illuminate the Night

This event was one of Art Basel’s kick-off events, and highlighted the $1.09 billion Brickell City Centre, which has been steadily rising above the heart of Brickell. The event was marked by the lighting of the 150,000-square-foot CLIMATE RIBBON™, and the unveiling of the 6-ton Allen Jones “Dancers” sculpture. Oh yeah – and Elijah Wood and British musician Allen Jones were there DJing. Because Basel.

 

Art Miami

Wandering through Art Miami is like descending into the motherlode of contemporary and modern art. Here’s where you’ll see a lot of the “greatest hits” artists, mentioned above. The show gets crammed full of spectators and serious shoppers, because why not drop $400,000 on living room decor? If you’ve got it, spend it.

 

CONTEXT Art Miami

Another favorite, this sprawling exhibition showed an endless array of contemporary and modern art, but features more emerging and mid-career artists — which is probably why I loved it as much as I did.

 

Prizm Art Fair

This exhibition features the work of artists of color, promoting international artists from the African Diaspora and emerging markets. It was an intimate and thoughtfully curated affair. This show continues past the end of Basel’s hoopla, through December 13; if you’re in Miami’s MiMo district it’s an absolute must-see.

 

SATELLITE Artist-Run

Saving the best for last, this SATELLITE show blew me away, largely because it was housed in an abandoned motel. Each artist/curator/collective selected to participate was given one of the motel rooms to do with as they pleased. The effect was inspired, unusual, and completely interactive. It also pushed viewers boundaries of comfort as they entered what felt like people’s private rooms. The decaying structure of the motel only added to the show’s intrigue.

And that, friends, is a wrap — at least ’til next year’s madness commences.