12.6.19 / Miami Beach / Florida

Beyond Basel: 4 Must-See Environmental Exhibits at Miami Art Week

Using the biggest art gathering in America to take on climate change

[Order of Importance]

By Tansy Kaschak

Today, Friday, December 6th, youth activists, including local chapters of the international groups Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future are leading a large-scale march headed to the government center in downtown Miami. In the frontline of climate change, it is estimated that by 2045 the city might be under water. In fact, last month, Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, officially recognized the rising environmental crisis and declared a climate emergency.

This week, with Miami Art Week, the city hosts a wide variety of art fairs and activations, including Art Basel Miami Beach, the largest contemporary art festival in North America, with galleries from 35 countries and more than 4,000 artists. About 100,000 attendees from around the world will flock to Miami this week. If we consider the overall carbon footprint of the event, it is safe to say that the more people come to Miami to see art, the faster Miami will disappear. 

How is the art community dialoguing with this evident paradox? Art Basel organizers say that at least ten of the projects at this year’s fair will specifically address climate change, the environment, or natural disasters, and that the fair is paying to carbon offset the flights of its team, VIP representatives, external consultants, operational partners, and media guests, as well as the speakers from the Conversations program.

Outside the main fair, we highlight four initiatives intended to bring forth environmental awareness and inspire social action.

Order of Importance

Life-size car sculptures on the shore of Miami Beach create an apocalyptical sand-covered traffic jam. The 66-piece installation, that looks like a future relic, brings a sense of communal fragility that the artist Leandro Erlich hopes will force people to face the dangers of climate change. Designed to disrupt the landscape as well as blend with it, some of the cars seem to be emerging from the sand, others dissolving into it, giving the effect that they are submerged underwater, in a clear reference to the rising of sea levels caused by effects of greenhouse gasses, including car emissions. The project will be on show up until 15 December, and the sand will be allowed to disintegrate during this time.

On the Lincoln Road beach front around 16th Street in South Beach

Museum of Plastic

Marrying creativity and conservation, award-winning nonprofit Lonely Whale brings to Miami the pop-up Museum of Plastic, part of their worldwide campaign Question How You Hydrate​, ​a movement to awaken the world to our reliance on single-use plastic water bottles and empower consumers to choose and champion sustainable alternatives. Supported by EDITION Hotels’ campaign Stay Plastic Free, the eye-opening experience takes viewers to discover the story of the single-use plastic water bottle through an interactive journey that demonstrates how we ended up using 500 billion globally each year and what is at stake if we don’t curb our addiction. Lonely Whale is also participating at Design Miami/ with an exhibition of sculptures made with plastic items salvaged from the ocean in twelve countries.

Forum of The Miami Beach EDITION
2901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
December 6th & 7th, 2PM-8PM
December 8th, 12PM-5PM

[Conversations with Nature]

Conversations With Nature

Curated by Albie Alexander, Conversations With Nature examines our connection with the natural world through introspective experiences that invite the viewer to engage in a deep dialogue with the environment. Themes of activism and healing permeate the exhibition, which explores resonances of mindfulness in an effort to develop new understandings of ourselves and achieve new visions of the future we want. Over the course of four days, a series of installations and happenings will harness our interconnectedness with each other and with Earth as a pathway to inspire positive action in the fight against climate change.

Brickell City Centre
701 S Miami Ave, Miami
December 5th-7th, 11am-7pm
December 8th, 12pm-7pm



Studio Lily Kwong is known for its magnificent botanical installations aimed to bring people closer to the natural world. In the courtyard of Bal Harbour Shops, Moongates will be on display during Art Basel 2019 and through the holiday season. The lush, picturesque round gates made of moss and orchids are inspired by traditional architectural elements in Chinese gardens dating back thousands of years represent rebirth and renewal and seek to awaken people to the profound beauty and power of nature through art, with the hope of creating environmental stewards of the future.

Courtyard of Bal Harbor Shops
9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour

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