Occupy Movement to Take Over Art Basel Miami Beach? [Updated]

The one percent is going to roost in Miami later this week for the Art Basel Miami Beach fairs, and the 99 percent just might follow them. Yesterday, ABMB’s PR staff sent out an email to participating gallerists warning of a possible Occupy protest planned for the fair. Read the email in full — and an updated response from the fair — below.

An Occupy Art Basel protest would fit exactly with the movement’s message, but it’s difficult to imagine ABMB staff allowing protesters to set up camp anywhere near the major fair. What could be worse for one-percent collectors’ art buying appetites than getting chanted at?

Here’s the email:

Dear Gallerist,

I hope this email finds you well, and we look forward to welcoming you very soon at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

As you may have read or heard, there is the possibility of an Occupy protest taking place in the vicinity of Art Basel Miami Beach and/or its coinciding events.

I wanted you to know that we are monitoring the situation and working closely with local authorities to ensure the show’s operations, while at the same time respecting the First Amendment.

Please direct any media inquiries regarding this issue to me.

With best regards,

Dorothee Dines
PR and Media Manager

Look for more updates as the fair approaches.

UPDATE, 2:45pm: ABMB representative Sara Fitzmaurice said the e-mail to gallerists was not prompted by any concrete knowledge of a protest in the works. “Anyone organizing an art event to this level is proceeding with the knowledge that such protests could potentially take place, so it’s not specific to any noted information that was passed on to us,” she said. “It’s just common practice in these days since we’ve seen this at a few art world events.” She added that the fair is not planning to add any additional security presence, but that fair organizers have had conversations with existing security to let them know that they should “add this to the mix of things to consider.”

A representative from Occupy Miami has not yet responded to a request for comment on what plans, if any, the group might have for the fair.