Established over two decades ago by Alexis Hubshman, Scope Art Show is a leading art fair that has produced over 85 editions in Miami, New York, and Basel, Switzerland, and has been attended by millions. With a focus on emerging contemporary artists, Scope provides a platform for discovery, learning, and dynamic programming. The 2022 edition of Scope will include over 150 exhibitors and marks the 10th anniversary of The New Contemporary, the fair’s hallmark, multidisciplinary initiative—and this year’s is planned to be the largest and most comprehensive to date. Taking place amidst large-scale installations and against the backdrop of Miami Beach, The New Contemporary will feature panel discussions between art-world luminaries and wellness-oriented events by day and music performances by night.
Ahead of Scope Art Show’s 21st edition, opening November 29 in Miami Beach, we spoke with Hubshman about how the fair has evolved and what he is most excited about for the forthcoming iteration.
You founded Scope Art Show 21 years ago. Can you tell us a bit about what first led you to establishing Scope? Have your motivations or aspirations evolved since then?
It began with a drive to create art events that were more intimate and exciting than what was being shown. We collaborated with curators, we worked with music, with film. We were doing performance art before performance art was cool. For all of these creators, it was an opportunity to do things they couldn’t do anywhere else.
I always saw us as being in the business of launching emerging culture, being the “R+D” for all things creative—with the idea that if you give young artists, curators, and gallerists a voice, then the market will take notice. The first fair had 27 young galleries, and they came from all over the world. Soon, we were doing fairs in New York, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Basel, and the Hamptons.
Over the last 21 years, I’ve had a front-row seat as the art world has transformed during the rise of the art fair. From a scrappy upstart to creative R+D hub, Scope has played many roles. But one constant has always underpinned our mandate to level the playing field for galleries, artists, curators, and collectors—introducing new talent to the world.
It has been gratifying to watch the evolution of an instinct and how we continue to inspire our base of collectors with creative, cross-industry VIP programming and monumental sponsorship activations. We embrace our role in systematically building up the galleries we showcase. By creating a first-of-its-kind online booth management system where they can choose to build and curate all aspects of their participation as well as broaden their social-media exposure, we’ve supercharged their growth in a way traditional PR firms cannot provide. Much has come full circle in the 21 years since Scope started as the original satellite art fair.
Blue-chip continues to dominate the market while smaller galleries are once again struggling to survive, but I am proud that Scope remains a safe haven and an incubator for new voices to thrive and grow.
This year Scope is celebrating The New Contemporary program. Can you talk about what it is and what we can expect?
To celebrate The New Contemporary this year, we are presenting the most monumental and provocative show yet as we continue to honor and expand our mission of supporting and providing a platform for artists and galleries that push the boundaries of art through inclusivity, technology, global politics, and local community engagement.
The New Contemporary ignites vital conversation through partnerships with nonprofit organizations that are fighting for inclusivity in the art world by uplifting a diverse range of artists and thinkers.
Guests will experience outstanding daily programming showcasing monumental, interactive installations, music performances, a thought-provoking talk series, and wellness activations during the day.
Within the context of the New Contemporary, what are some of the panels, programs, or artworks that you are most excited about?
We have a very exciting lineup of speakers poised to deliver some extraordinary, thought-provoking discussions around diversity, technology, and culture shifters. Returning with a renewed focus on wellness, we have partnered with Alo Yoga to host morning yoga and wellness classes on the sand. After hours, the venue will transform into a premium nightlife experience in partnership with H.Wood, and feature world-class music talent at night.
One facet of The New Contemporary is its partnerships with “nonprofit organizations that are fighting for inclusivity in the art world by uplifting Black artists and thinkers.” Who are some of the artists or organizations that are going to be featured this year?
I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about the incredible talent we will be showcasing within The New Contemporary. This year’s show will feature many standout artists, such as Ken Nwadiogbu, Thandiwe Muriu, Derrick Ofosu Boateng, Clay Apenouvon, Patrick Tagoe-Turkson, Angèle Etoundi Essamba, Osborne Macharia, Sesse Elangwe, and Charly Palmer.
Scope has unveiled a stellar roster of partnerships for the forthcoming edition, including YellowHeart NFT marketplace, which you partnered with last year as well. Will there be an equal emphasis on blockchain technology this year? What other partnerships are of note for this iteration?
For the second year, we will be releasing, in partnership with YellowHeart, limited-edition NFT tickets for the upcoming show. The tickets will feature the artwork of Mason Rothschild and Cool Cats. We’re really proud to partner with Creative Artist Agency (CAA) on a diverse curation of innovative NFT-minted artwork VIP tickets as well.
The past two years have affected the progress of the entire art world, but Scope has nevertheless experienced an incredible amount of growth over the years. What are some of the biggest developments or expansions that Scope has undertaken? Looking to the future, are there any specific projects or developments you hope to see?
Scope’s energy comes from its willingness to take chances before others: this is the hallmark of a true visionary brand. This year, we are celebrating our 21st anniversary, and truly, we set the industry standard for the emerging art fair, by being the model from which others have drawn. We were the first culturally engineered art show. Even though today there are more satellite fairs than I can count, we’ve established a reputation as having a true passion for emerging art, and have managed to stick to our original mission of supporting new and emerging talent.
Scope Art Show Miami Beach will run November 29–December 4.