This week, the international art world descended on Miami. As Art Basel Miami Beach celebrates its tenth year, local museums, collectors, and a host of satellite fairs—Art Miami, Scope, Pulse, NADA, Red Dot, and Art Asia, among others—are offering an almost overwhelming schedule of art, exhibitions, parties, and events.

Abel Barroso, La Visa, 2011
Photo by Fernanda Torcida

In the midst of this dizzying spectacle, where is the Cuban art?

Generally speaking, it’s not at Art Basel itself—where, according to the New York Times, only three of the 260 invited galleries are local, and “only a handful of homegrown artists” are showcased. Nor is it in the smaller, edgier fairs like Red Dot or Pulse. For modern and contemporary Cuban art, the must-see fair is Art Miami.

Now in its 22nd edition, Art Miami is one of the city’s longest-running art fairs, and the 100-plus dealers exhibiting at this year’s fair include several showing Cuban artists. At the gala preview on Tuesday evening, the mood among the Cuban-art gallerists was decidedly upbeat.

At the Pan American Art Projects booth, gallery director Janda Wetherington was looking forward to an extremely successful fair, based on her experiences at three recent shows: PINTA New York, the Houston Fine Art Fair, and Art Platform Los Angeles. “All three were excellent,” she said, “even in this economy.” If the Art Miami opening night was any indication, Wetherington’s prediction may be right: within the first ten minutes, Pan American sold three works by Abel Barroso for $18,000 each. Other Cuban artists on display include Gustavo Acosta, José Manuel Fors, and sculptor Carlos González.

Things also got off to a good start for Magnan Metz Gallery, where Alberto Magnan reported the sale, just before the opening, of a sculpture by Alexandre Arrechea: a partially rolled-up Empire State Building that sold for $95,000. Arrechea was on hand to talk about his works on display, which also included a sculpture of the IBM Building, offered at $65,000, and a bridge ($25,000).

At the booth for Coral Gables-based Tresart, the spotlight was on Loló Soldevilla. By the time the show opened, Antonio de la Guardia had sold a 1950s Soldevilla stabile sculpture for $80,000 and six small works at $8,000 each.

The crowds at the Cernuda Arte booth were attracted by the works by Victor Manuel, Amelia Peláez, and René Portocarrero. But undoubtedly the biggest draws were two beautiful Wifredo Lam paintings, priced between $1 million and $1.5 million each. They were not among the works that sold before the fair officially opened. But given the amount of interest in Cuban art at Art Miami this year, they could sell before the fair closes on Sunday.