Art Basel Satellite Fairs Outshine the Big Fair on the Beach

Art Basel's satellite fairs have been growing for years and have spread across Miami like the world's most fetching fungus. Without doubt, there's something to satisfy every artistic temperament: cautious newcomers, counterculture rebels, and highbrow connoisseurs. So here, then, are our top ten alternates to the Convention Center.

1. Red Dot Miami: This boutique clambake with the allure of a parking lot fire sale is an approachable, down-to-earth fair partnering this year with GreenMiami, a pet project of former mayor Hon. Manuel Diaz. The opening reception's donations will benefit the City of Miami Tree Trust Fund, helping to support Miami's dedication to preserving trees within the urban jungle. In conjunction with the Miami International Film Festival, there will be a special film and photography program in the midst of more than 40 modern and contemporary booths carrying traditional painting, works on paper, and sculpture. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 1, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 2 through 4, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 5 at 3011 NE First Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $15 to $25. Click here.

2. Scope Miami 2010: Without a doubt, this is the most internationally recognized satellite fair. It was founded ten years ago by art world renegade Alexis Hubshman and is now helmed by director Mollie White. Editions of Scope are held throughout the year in New York City; Basel, Switzerland; the Hamptons; London; and Miami. Seventy-five international galleries will serve as the foundation for the tenth anniversary of Scope Miami, with special projects such as "Thatness and Thereness" curated by Miami-based a.m.f. projects cofounder Daria Brit Shapiro. Expect mind-bending sculpture (like Karyn Olivier's Doubleslide); provocative video projects (such as Monika Bravo's The Vortex); and Miami's favorite fashion designer, Karelle Levy, with her sixth Quickie Couture operation. Situated just across the way from Art Miami in Midtown, it's hard to miss the massive white pavilion, which looks, at first glance, like a monumental bounce house. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 2 through 4, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 5 at 3055 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $15 to $20. Click here.

3. Fountain Miami 2010: This is the fifth edition of the show, launched in 2006, and will feature projects from New York-based galleries DCKT and Claire Oliver. Oliver's hysterically flamboyant performance artists Eva + Adele (husband-and-wife hermaphrodites who have dressed alike, and quite fabulously, for the past 15 years) will likely grace every major fair with their playful antics. Expect celebrity-collage portraits, life-sized dummies, and guerilla-style installations. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 3 through 5 at 2505 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $10. Click here.

4. Pulse Miami: Now in its sixth incarnation, one of Wynwood's lights-out fairs roars back with more than 80 galleries from across the globe and with a section celebrating the incorporeal human body and a skull-staving lineup of video presentations. Pulse Miami promises to be one of the swankiest satellite fairs on the circuit this December. Gansevoort South will host parties for exhibitors and VIPs, and the fair has a haute list of sponsors, including Jaguar, Artnet, and the Epic Hotel. But don't be fooled by the glitz: This show presents powerful contemporary photography (arguably the fair's primary focus), installation, and mixed-media works. Gallery Diet, featuring a special installation from Christy Gast for Pulse Projects, and the Diana Lowenstein gallery will represent the 305. Be sure to check out the Impulse section, where galleries present solo exhibitions of artists' work created in the past two years, as well as the Pulse Play> video lounge, featuring "Water on the Mind" — videos about the emotions inspired by the Gulf oil spill. 1 to 7 p.m. December 2, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 3 and 4, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 5 at 1400 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $10 to $15. Click here.

5. Aqua Art Fair 2010: Now in its sixth year, this breezy, indie soirée returns to its roots on South Beach after a brief stay away. It features mostly fresh produce from West Coast purveyors in a chill, laid-back, and hypercozy hotel courtyard display. Expect affordable, offbeat works with a few iconic names such as Diane Arbus, Frank Stella, Ansel Adams, and Henri Cartier-Bresson thrown into the mix. Forty-three galleries from across the U.S. and Canada offer an enticing alternative. Within walking distance of Art Basel, this is a healthy dose of the hip and underground. 11 a.m to 8 p.m. December 2 to 4 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 5 at 1530 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $10. Click here.

6. Littlest Sister | 10 | Invitational: Perhaps the smallest art fair on the planet, this runty sibling to Basel is no amateur hour. Expect to find stocking-stuffer works by the Magic City's crackerjack talent and at bargain-basement prices. Littlest Sister, the self-proclaimed "baby sibling" to Art Basel Miami Beach, is also the only fair housed in the polished surroundings of the Design District. With only eight booths in the Spinello Gallery, it's the perfect introduction to those new to the art fair circuit. More cunning aficionados will certainly appreciate the gutsy works curated by Anthony Spinello. An art fair with attitude, the third edition of Littlest Sister promises Miami artists Farley Aguilar, TYPOE, Agustina Woodgate, and Federico Nessi, who will appear alongside emerging artists from across the country such as David Leroi and Saul Chernick. The Littlest Sister Sculpture Project features Pablo Cano, Eric Doeringer, and Pachi Giustinian. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 1, 9 a.m. to midnight December 2, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 3 and 4, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 5 at 155 NE 38th St., Miami. Free admission. Click here.

7. Verge Art Fair: This nifty tossed salad of offerings strikes palatable balances that won't leave you feeling hungry for fresher talent a half-hour after leaving. If Verge Art Fair is good enough for Charles Saatchi and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then surely local and visiting art-lurkers can keep pace with this showcase of exclusively emerging artists. With fairs held in New York and Basel each year, Verge swells with unique works and projects, riding its popularity from its Miami debut last year. The small, fashionable Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach will host this year's Verge. The fair includes a drawing show, highlighting the oft-overlooked medium, and a DIY event founded by the show's creators, Edouard Steinhauer and Michael Workman. Noon to 8 p.m. December 3 and 4 and noon to 6 p.m. December 5 at 1732 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $5 to $20. Click here.

8. Art Miami: Art Miami, now in its 21st year, features modern and contemporary paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, and prints from Europe, Asia, Latin America, India, the Middle East, and the United States. It packs some serious star power on both artistic and pop-culture fronts. This year's artists include Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Rauschenberg. Don't miss out on South Florida art godmother Bernice Steinbaum's booth. It's also stretching its arms to the Mandarin Oriental for an Asian art exhibit, curated by Lowe Museum director Brian A. Dursum. Art Miami's own curator, Julia Draganovic, heads the video program at the fair, titled "In What We Trust." 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 1 through 4 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 5 at 3101 NE First Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $10 to $40. Click here.

9. NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance): Held at the Deauville Hotel, the epitome of Rat Pack panache, this fair's booths are arranged as gaudy French ballrooms featuring opulent chandeliers hanging over edgy art that clashes delightfully with its surroundings. At NADA's Deauville Beach Resort base, the Bas Fisher Invitational and Twenty Twenty Projects will join more than 90 exhibitors presenting affordable but stunningly edgy and elegant contemporary projects. On December 3, nonprofit photography project Humble Arts Foundation will debut Manual Transmission Miami, an intriguing mixed-media installation/performance projecting original works onto projectors surrounding the Deauville's pool area. With a mission that states "We believe the adversarial approach to exhibiting and selling art has run its course," prepare for some subversive visuals. 2 to 8 p.m. December 2, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. December 3 and 4, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 5 at 6701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Free admission. Click here.

10. Design Miami/: Design Miami/ is the only Art Basel satellite fair that focuses on applied design elements; i.e. furniture, lighting design, and interior décor. Limited editions of modern-era home and commercial furnishings are on view from firms based in New York, Paris, London, and Brussels. This year, the fair will feature an interactive, multimedia project from fashion house Fendi and New York architects Aranda/Lasch, who have also designed a special "mini city" pavilion that serves as the exhibition venue itself. Noon to 8 p.m. December 1 through 4 and noon to 6 p.m. December 5 at Meridian Avenue & 19th Street, Miami Beach. Tickets cost $15 to $25. Click here.