By Nate Storey
December 04, 2013

Miami Art Week kicks-off another year of buzzworthy fairs this week, drawing the international cognoscenti for the latest round of high-priced purchases and ritzy parties. It’s an especially notable time for a culture scene whose boundless growth has shifted the art world’s center of gravity toward South Florida—the glittering Pérez Art Museum Miami’s debut is the latest jaw-dropping splash, and hotels like The Betsy have a full slate of arts programming—exhibits, meet-the-artist events, and more.

As its cachet continues to rise, T+L sat down with Art Miami Director Nick Korniloff to get the scoop on the 2013 rendition.

Q: What are the can't-miss exhibitions at Art Miami this year?

A: The 2014 edition of Art Miami will provide an unprecedented group of high-quality galleries from around the globe that will have a selection of works at the forefront of the contemporary market. The fair will have three distinct curated projects—Check Out (above), Think Big and Zoom In (below)—that clearly define the overall depth, diversity, and quality of the Art Miami Fair. Each project area incorporates large-scale sculpture, flat work, video, and new media. In addition, we will have a special exhibition of Banksy original works, including one piece from his recent NY residency program.

Q: How has Art Miami evolved over the years?

A: Art Miami is entering its 23rd year of existence and 24th edition. It is the original contemporary art fair of Miami and when it first entered the market, was purely regional in its attendance, though very international in its participating galleries. It was not marketed as a destination fair and most international visitors attended from naturally being in Miami. Today Art Miami is as self sufficient as Art Basel and has its own identity with a loyal following and has expanded to three fairs during Art Week: Art Miami, CONTEXT, and AQUA. Attendance and the acquisition of art have skyrocketed since 2008, the fair receives over 65,000 visitors annually, and last year's reported sales exceeded 80 million dollars.

Q: What are the biggest differentiators of Art Miami from Art Basel?

A: Art Miami offers a level of accessibility to the artwork, artists, and dealers that Basel does not. We provide a different ambience and operate with a different mentality. We service many of the same collectors, exhibit many of the same artists, and from time-to-time, have galleries that switch between the two fairs. There is a common respect between both our organizations for the quality they represent and the community where we run our businesses. I had the privilege of working with the Original Director of Art Basel for 3.5 years and got an understanding of how the Basel organization works. We are both caretakers of the market through our participating dealers and supporting audiences that we share by creating a separate and distinct experience that is appreciated by everyone.

Q: What parties are you most looking forward to during Art Miami this year?

A: I know this is self serving—but I really enjoy our VIP Preview on Tuesday evening as it attracts over 12,000 people and really kicks off Art Week. There are always so many surprises that happen and the mood and energy is great. This year I'm looking forward to visiting Art Basel during their Vernissage and then heading over to the VIP Preview of our new acquisition, AQUA, which takes place until 11 p.m.

Thursday is usually a VIP private party for our collectors and galleries at the DB Bistro Bar. The last three years I have really embraced the Miami Art Museum’s (now Pérez Art Museum) Saturday Gala. I’m really excited to go to the black tie event and see the new museum and all the positive supporters. Saturday night we spin the dial and see what party we will attend after a late dinner—at this point I'm undecided as there are many opportunities for important parties at both the beach and city.

Q: What are the trendy spots for post-fair drinks?

A: It really depends on what atmosphere you want and what location of town you are in. One thing is for sure—Miami has no shortage when it comes to chic places to grab a cocktail. I am partial to the DB Bistro Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis and the Hotel Beaux Arts for champagne to wind down after a day at the fair. If I’m on the beach, I like Soho House; for the Wynwood Arts District I head to Wynwood Kitchen and Bar; and in Midtown Miami, I’m at Sugarcanes.

Q: What restaurants should visitors not miss while they're in town?

Italian: Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau

Sushi: Zuma at the EPIC

French: DB Bistro at JW Marriott Marquis

Cuban: Versailles in Little Havana

Seafood: Garcia’s

Mexican: Mercadito

Asian: Azul at the Mandarin Oriental

Q: What's the hot address to book for a hotel in Miami right now?

A: The city and the beach are so big! In Miami, it’s the Hotel Beaux Arts; for Miami Beach, The W; Canyon Ranch at North Beach, St. Regis in Bal Harbour; Ritz-Carlton at Key Biscayne; and in Brickell, the Mandarin Oriental.

Q: What's your favorite under-the-radar spot in the city?

A: Jimbo’s Place Virginia Key for an ice-cold $1 beer and fresh smoked fish. Play some Bocce Ball at one of Miami's greatest hidden secrets and places to grab a dose of sanity. Andiamo on Biscayne Boulevard is very relaxing too, and they serve a great little brick oven pizza in a courtyard flanked by a car wash and two busy streets. As far as galleries go, NOW in Wynwood is one of my favorites. When I’m in the mood to browse, Las Tias on North Miami Avenue in midtown has vintage second hand goods.

Q: What's one thing every fairgoer should make sure to do before they leave?

A: Make their reservations for the following year’s Art Week!

Nate Storey is a freelance writer and editor at Endless Vacation.