Despite attempts to lull people in earlier via free admission and drink specials, South Beach and downtown clubs are open until dawn and typically do not get hopping until at least midnight.
This means that while the world is your oyster at 3 AM, between the hours of 6 and 11 PM there is more or less nothing to do. Sure you can eat or disco nap, but that's not going to take up the 5 hours between ending your day and beginning your night.
This is where art openings come in, as they combine the one-two punch of being the only thing to do pre-clubbing and having free alcohol. Your alternatives are to see a movie or else to go to a bar and kill a couple of hours, and who wants to sit in the dark for 2 hours prior to going drinking and who wants to pay to go drink only to have to sober up enough to drive somewhere else to drink some more?
Granted, the people who go to gallery events to drink free wine and Grolsch (and why is it always swing-topped Grolsch?) before going out to clubs do not buy art. They DO however create the hip atmosphere that makes art buyers comfortable. If Miami were not a party town, Art Basel would be as appealing as an industrial trade show.
Anyway, all this is to say that the surging of Miami's art scene owes something to clubbing, two things I would normally hesitate to associate with one another.
This is coming to mind before I go to bed at 4 in the morning, something unheard of in D.C. or Tallahassee but par for the course on a weekend in Miami. In D.C. I was frustrated by not knowing the right time to leave the house and always wound up having to anxiously watch the clock so as to catch the last metro home. Here it doesn't matter when I leave, but if I try to leave past 10:30 I inevitably feel too worn out to really bother. One of the nicest nights out I've had since getting back to Miami was going to the Boyz of Bazel opening a while back. Being out at an interesting event at 10 when I was still awake was a nice feeling.
I'm sure Miami Nights has a post somewhere to this effect in far fewer words and with much more snark. In the event this is true, please do not show up at my house and beat up my family or give us all atomic wedgies or something.
5 weeks ago