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Five Reasons You Should Care About Art Basel Miami Beach

So the traffic's thinned, the pavilions are gone, and the folks in red pants have returned to the freezing temperatures of New York or London or wherever. You might think: "Whew, I was getting so sick of all of this insanity. Screw Art Basel!" Many locals looked at the roaming crowds, white tents, and fresh street art as if they had woken up in the Twilight Zone. Or worse yet, in Tales From the Crypt. Why should you care about Art Basel Miami Beach? Here are five reasons to care lest you scare the art fairs away next year.
1. See Work That Is Usually Stashed Away in International Galleries and Museums
On its own, Art Basel one of the sole opportunities for viewers in the southern United States to get up close and personal with the largest commercial galleries in the world, displaying their newest and most significant offerings. The oldest galleries (such as Landau and Acquavella) carry works from the Masters: Klimt, Calder, Warhol, and Matisse. Where else can you see these kinds of works? Not here (at least, not right now).

2. Power Networking
With faces such as Adrien Brody, A-Rod, and Venus Williams seen in the crowds (and not just at the Convention Center), the week of Art Basel Miami Beach offers locals a chance to rub elbows with some of the world's greenest green. It doesn't matter if your gig isn't art-related. Where else do you get to talk about your hip new restaurant idea or strip club to someone with money to burn on modern art?

3.  Public Art That Is Actually Good
Did you get a peek at the blue, licorice-like installation outside Art Miami? The climbing sound-mound or the multicolored, crocheted convertible outside Scope (pic above)? Or how about the hyper-fantasy of FriendsWithYou's Rainbow City? That's just some of the fun and engaging outdoor art that Art Basel Miami brought in its wake. They made us want to deface that ridiculous Britto ball-and-palm-tree monstrosity outside Fifth Street and Alton Road.

4. Local Businesses Get Flooded with Cash
Local staples such as Joey's Wynwood, Gigi, and Sra. Martinez were packed with Basel visitors and all their discretionary spending. Plus, these venues still kept their cool with chilled waitstaff and decent turnaround time. Obviously, they knew the big money was here temporarily, but we were their patrons too and they didn't forget that. Kudos.

5. An Education
The days of the never-ending, week-long partying seem to have toned down from the Art Basel juggernaut. Now, it's possible that Miamians could actually learn something about the incredible works brought from the far corners of the world by the hungry, determined galleries. And not just the visitors, but our own galleries here put on their Sunday Best for all to admire.

It may seem all snotty from the outside with the VIP Audis, the bubble-wrap bags and the velvet ropes, but the only thing stopping locals from the Convention Center was a bag check and $36. If that was too steep, all of the satellite fairs cost $10 and there was free admission at NADA and Littlest Sister. For that money, you could speak to a consultant about a Picasso or a young curator about an up-and-coming photographer or sculptor. Could you simply waltz into Miami Art Museum director Thom Collins or Bonnie Clearwater's (MOCA) office and steal 15 minutes to talk art on a whim? Not unless you're with us.

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