Record Crowds Attend VIP Preview of 23rd Art Miami and Inaugural CONTEXT Art Miami Festivals

The line of elegantly dressed and carefully coiffed bold face names that formed well before the doors opened to the exclusive VIP Preview of Art Miami and its new sister fair CONTEXT Art Miami is testament to the fact that Art Miami, Miami's longest-running contemporary art fair, remains the preeminent, must-attend event of Miami Art Week. The giddiness in the crowd was almost palpable as art lovers waited patiently, eager to have the first look at - and first opportunity to purchase - the most important works of contemporary and modern art from a stellar roster of the world's most prominent galleries.

The VIP Preview of the 23rd Art Miami officially kicked off Miami Art Week drawing a crowd of over 11,000 international collectors, museum curators, interior designers, artists and connoisseurs. Among the notable attendees were: Darlene & Jorge M. Pérez, developer and longtime trustee of the Miami Art Museum – to be renamed next year as the Pérez Art Museum Miami; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, Thom Collins, Director, Miami Art Museum, James Rosenquist, acclaimed American Pop Artist; Lucien Clergue, world-renowned French photographer; Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum; Holly Hotchner, Director of the Museum of Arts & Design; Sarah Arison, arts activist and philanthropist; rocker Lenny Kravitz; Carol Damien, Director of Frost Art Museum and international collectors Ruth & Ted Baum, Marvin & Elayne Mordes, Marvin Ross Friedman & Adrienne Bon Haynes, Jack Tilton , Eric Feder, Steve Lavigne and Jonathan Blue Louisville.

In classic sophisticated Art Miami style, guests were accorded VIP perks such as shuttle buses from Kempton's EPIC Hotel, the fairs Luxury Hotel partner to the pavilions where while sipping cocktails form Bootlegger 21 NY Vodka and Rums of Puerto Rico, guests toured the mammoth pavilions in search of that unique treasure to add to their collection. There was much discussion about the "Banksy Out of Context" exhibit of five massive stone wall reliefs equaling six-and-a-half tons in weight that feature the artist's most iconic stencils; "ART FROM BERLIN," Miami's first showcase of some of Berlin's most celebratEd Galleries. CONTEXT Art Miami also revealed the Art Video | New Media Lounge, specially curated by Julia Draganovic and Claudia Loffelholz, founders of LaRete Art Projects and presenters of the "Girls or Boys? Who Cares?!" exhibition.

Peter Anton's "Sugar & Gomorrah." a repurposed roller coaster ride through vignettes featuring scantily clad couples juxtaposed with Anton's oversized sculptures of confections had riders positively giggling like schoolchildren at the experience.

"Art Miami gets better year after year," said Jutta Grusdat from the Munich-based Galerie Terminus. "It has exceeded expectations, and in comparison to the other fairs, has the most diverse art work."

During the special event, Art Miami LLC presented a generous donation to the Miami Art Museum, which will reopen next year in a new Herzog & de Meuron-designed facility as a world-class museum for the city's thriving community of artists, designers, collectors and its avid and growing art-engaged public. The Miami Art Museum will host a specially curated on-site booth in the Art Miami Pavilion for the duration of the Fair, featuring information about the 2013 reopening of MAM as Pérez Art Museum Miami. thanks to the extraordinary generosity of arts patron Jorge Perez.<

"Last night we welcomed CONTEXT Art Miami and celebrated the 23rd edition of the city's longest running contemporary art fair, Art Miami, with an outstanding attendance," said Nicholas Korniloff, Director of Art Miami. "We are thrilled to have unveiled some of Art Week's most highly anticipated exhibitions, including 'BANKSY Out of CONTEXT,' and look forward to sharing it with the general public, starting today."

During the exclusive soiree, a compelling array of works selected by The Combined 190 galleries participating in Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami showcased the best in emerging, cutting-edge contemporary and modern paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and prints from Europe, Asia, Latin America, India, the Middle East and the United States. Fairgoers reactions ranged from reverential to incredulous to child-like awe at the extraordinarily diverse works on display.

Known as Miami's premier anchor fair, Art Miami kicks off the opening day of Art Week. The fair commenced on Dec. 4, 2012, with Art Miami's highly anticipated Opening Night VIP Preview, which benefits the Miami Art Museum. World-famous for its outstanding quality, extraordinary variety and stylish, gallery-like decor, Art Miami showcases the finest in modern and contemporary art from more than 125 of the most prestigious international art galleries. Art Miami maintains a preeminent position in America's modern and contemporary art fair market. With its rich history, it is the original and longest-running contemporary art fair in Miami, and continues to receive praise for the variety of unparalleled art that it offers. Art Miami is the must-see event for all serious collectors, curators, museum directors, and interior designers, providing an intimate look at some of the most important work at the forefront of the international contemporary art movement. (

Miami's newest international emerging and cutting-edge art fair launched with a VIP Private Preview on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, coinciding with the 23rd edition of Art Miami. Trendsetting galleries from around the globe will exhibit in a state-of-the-art pavilion directly adjacent to Art Miami. CONTEXT Art Miami will feature a curated group of 65 galleries representing exceptional emerging and mid-career cutting edge artists, including solo artist installations, immersive environments, curated projects and multimedia exhibits. The CONTEXT Art Miami Pavilion will feature a VIP Lounge, Art Video New Media Lounge, performance stage, indoor and outdoor curated projects, and will be located just 50 feet north of the existing 125,000-square-foot Art Miami Pavilion. The Combined exhibition space will increase the overall roster of galleries to 190 participants and cover 250,000 square feet. Ample and convenient parking is available for both fairs through the use of a four-story parking garage with 2,000 spots, located directly across the street from the CONTEXT & Art Miami Pavilions, as well as valet parking. A network of complimentary shuttle buses will run round-trip service between Art Miami, CONTEXT Art Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach. (

Pictured: Aaron Podhurst, Chairman MAM, Board Pamela Cohen, Nick Korniloff, Thom Collins, Miami Art Museum Director.