The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The madness has begun. It's Art Basel Miami Beach, and in what has now become a time-honored tradition for almost a decade, the racing about, the scramble to see, haggle, and buy commences. So let's start with a guide

to two fairs opening tomorrow morning: Scope and Art Miami, in Midtown Miami.

While there are tons of galleries from all over the world exhibiting there, as a framework, we'll highlight the local offerings.

The Spinello Gallery has a big booth at the front, this year focusing on three artists. Of note is Enrique Gomez de Molina, who uses skins of once-living animals to recreate their lives, ones that have been destroyed by the overuse of the environment and by general abuse of our natural world. "The fantastic, unrealistic qualities serve as a visual experience for the viewer. … From minuscule insects to evocative birds, a voice is given to animals which cannot speak for themselves." Also at the Spinello booth, paintings from Farley Aguilar, which also delve into the fantastic. He has created a character based on an old Norse myth of a wolf, where he explores "the human need to create fantasy in order to deal with the fact that all are simply pawns of fate."

Indeed, it's Basel time -- time to delve into all the possibilities of art.

At Carol Jazzar's gallery: sculptures crafted from clothes and materials found in Little Haiti and formed into new life from the duo Guerra de la Paz; the trippy and fabulous paper sculptures from Jen Stark; and colorful yet intentionally disturbing paintings created from acrylic tape (referencing sometimes a crime scene) from another duo, Kuhl & Leyton.

At Hardcore Art Contemporary, check out another artist who for years has brought to our attention the environment we discard so casually, Xavier Cortada. He will have free-flowing strands of carbon paper and fading carbon drawings. In between galleries from Hong Kong to Berlin, also scope out the Butter Gallery.

At Art Miami, keep an eye out for Pan American Art Projects, the newly opened Now Contemporary Art, Dot Fiftyone, and the venerable Bernice Steinbaum.

And those are just two fairs! There will also be the booths at Pulse and NADA and many others, and of course Art Basel Miami Beach itself, opening up on Wednesday evening. And all the galleries have their own shows, open and free to the public on Saturday night, Dec. 4.

Scope Miami, opening 11:00 a.m. Wed., Dec. 1, 3055 N. Miami Ave.; Art Miami, opening 11:00 a.m., Dec.1, 3101 N.E. 1st Ave.,

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