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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Art aficionados will be able to get their fix as this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach kicked off with a VIP preview.
Today, the biggest and richest art dealers, collectors, celebrities and media gathered to see what Art Basel has to offer this year. Something different is they will be featuring about 21 new galleries that have never been seen before on South Beach.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine helped kick off the event with Norman Braman by giving him the key to the city as the event marks its 15th year.
“It’s the unity of everyone, working together, that we can celebrate 15 years of Art Basel,” said Levine.
The invite-only preview Wednesday comes just a day before the world-renowned show is set to open to the public at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
“If you come to The Miami Beach Convention Center, which I strongly encourage you to do, you will find near 270 of the best art galleries in the world,” said Art Basel’s Global Director Marc Speigler.
Despite heavy traffic on the outside, this VIP preview seemed less jammed than years before. Still, those big buyers are back and know what they want.
“I only look at two things. I only buy Japanese art and African art, so I’m like a horse with blinders on. The first two hours I’m here, I have sneakers on and I run,” said buyer Jean Pigozzi.
The show has also brought out some famous faces in the past including celebrity A-listers like veteran Leonardo DiCaprio and Actor Sylvester Stallone.
Singer and actress Barbara Streisand, a talented collector, was shopping through the halls with her husband James Brolin.
“I’m always looking for great things,” she said.
And there’s an art to what the booths look like.
Pablo Picasso’s son, Claude Picasso, created the space for a Zurich-based gallery as an homage to the Russian Revolution.
“It’s always exciting because you see things from galleries you have not seen for a long time,” he said.
Over 500,000 square feet of exhibition space will show off works from thousands of artists in various shapes, sizes and mediums.
“You will have a chance to discover, you know 3,000 or so great artists in all sorts of mediums,” Speigler said. “It’s impossible to walk through these halls and not find something that touches you and moves you and changes you.”
Real estate mogul Jorge Perez attended this special preview after recently donating $10 million in cash and $5 million in value of his personal Cuban art collection to his namesake museum, the Perez Art Museum Miami.
“It’s very important for me for Miami to be the place to go to for Latin American Art. I’m hoping it inspirers others to give,” he said.
Thousands are expected to roam the halls sprinkled with art. Last year over 77,000 people attended the show within the five days it ran.
Starting Thursday, doors will open to the public at 3 p.m. and close at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, doors will open at noon and close at 8 p.m. On Sunday, the last day of the show, doors will close at 6 p.m.
For More info, visit artbaselmiamibeach.com.