The 2017 edition of the Satellite Art Show in North Beach

The 2017 edition of the Satellite Art Show in North Beach (all images courtesy the Satellite Art Show)

One of Art Basel Miami Beach’s satellite fairs is significantly tightening its orbit. The aptly named Satellite Art Show, which launched in 2015 and has typically taken place place in Miami Beach — including, last year, at a former hotel a long way north of the closest major fair — is moving to the mainland this year and onto a vast open space on the north side of downtown Miami.

The future location of the Satellite Art Show at 18 NW 14th Street in Miami (Google Street View screenshot courtesy Satellite Art Show)

The 33,000-square-foot former parking lot at 18 NW 14th Street, right alongside the NADA art fair’s new venue at the Ice Palace Studios and a few blocks from other mainstays Art Miami and Context, will put Satellite in the thick of the action in December’s fair week.

“We are excited about having the amount of square footage for large-scale public works, which we haven’t been able to do on the beach; we can go tall, we can go exploratory — the sky’s the limit,” Brian Whiteley, one of Satellite’s co-directors (along with Alex Paik, Jesse Bandler Firestone, Quinn Dukes, and Anna Liisa Benston), told Hyperallergic. “Being on the beach has been great, but we’re looking forward to being in a centralized location and dealing with the City of Miami. There’s been an overhaul within the municipal government of Miami Beach that has made it more restrictive to put these events on.”

An installation at the 2017 Satellite Art Show

In order to allow for maximum flexibility, Satellite will configure dozens of temporary structures like shipping containers and construction offices throughout the lot, interspersing more large-scale works, installations, and spaces for performances in between, even giving vehicle-based artworks and exhibitions a drive-in option to park on-site for the duration of the fair. The shift in location will allow the fair to vastly expand what it has done in the past within the relatively confined environs of Miami Beach hotel spaces.

A neon sign of the Satellite Art Show logo at the 2017 edition of the fair

“I think our magic number is 40 to 45 exhibitors within the pre-fab structures like shipping containers, based on the applications and proposals we typically get,” Whiteley added. “I’m anticipating that to stay the same this year. But I think where this year’s fair will be explosive in a way that I can’t really envision yet will be the large-scale public installation works, which will provide the intrigue when you’re passing between each exhibit. We’ve been getting people wanting to do large-scale works for years and we just haven’t had the space for it.” (Applications for the fair, incidentally, will open next week.)

That said, despite the change of surroundings, Satellite’s organizers are committed to maintaining its distinctive atmosphere, whereby each space is made-over and transformed by each exhibitor.

An installation by HOMOCATS at the 2017 Satellite Art Show

“Satellite has been this kind of cabinet of curiosity thing, where each room is transformed in a different way,” Whiteley said “We’re going to try to keep that format, so even if it’s a photography exhibit, we ask that people curate an environment around which the photography is elevated. We’re going to keep that mandate.”

An installation at the 2017 Satellite Art Show

Satellite will also maintain its emphasis on performances and nighttime programming. The fair will shift its opening hours to begin and end later, with a nightly lineup of performances, projections, music, and more.

“We’re steering the fair toward more of a 4pm to 11pm time slot because a lot of the public works and exhibits are going to be illuminated,” Whiteley added. “This location allows us to essentially, when the fair closes, keep visitors there by starting to do things more like video projection, music, and kind of intermixing things so that it changes into more of a performative and musical environment.”

The 2018 edition of the Satellite Art Show, in its new Miami location, will run December 5–9, concurrent with NADA MiamiArt Basel Miami Beach and a dozen or so other fairs.

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...