Albeit late, here is my recap of last weeks Art Basel activities. You’ll have to forgive the tardiness, as I was bedridden for several days with the cold from hell. Now lets get down to business. Last week art lovers and novices alike flocked to Miami to take part in one of the worlds largest Art Fairs. Art Basel, while around for over 40 years has only taken place in Miami since 2002 but each year has seen tremendous growth. With art lovers, millionaire, celebrities and the artsy-fartsy type taking over the city for about a week, Miami has become hands down the it place to be during the first week of December. Think Cannes Film festival in Cannes, France, only you can actually afford to come and enjoy the city of Miami without taking out a second mortgage. Here’s a round up of some of my escapades during Art Week.
Day 1 – Tuesday
Concept Art Fair: Preview Showing
The Concept Art Fair held its preview party on Tuesday before it opened its doors to the public on Wednesday. I was super psyched about the venue, a mega yacht named the Sea Fair docked in the Biscayne Bay adjacent to the InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Miami. As we boarded we were greeted with drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres and made our way through the ship enjoying the works curated by the different galleries. The ship boasted 4 floors of galleries, a couple of full bars, and deck and seating areas where one could relax and enjoy the views of the downtown skyline and grab some fresh air. Unfortunately for us, it was raining so taking advantage of the decks was not an option.
As for the artwork, there were several interesting pieces and two works from the Omar Arraez actually turned out to be my favorite pieces from my entire Basel experience this year. A simple medium of charcoal on wrinkled paper created this amazing life-like effect. However, I can’t say that the Concept Fair blew my mind overall. As a party it was lovely but it was definitely on the small side for a fair. I’d be somewhat underwhelmed if I had paid $15 for the general admission day pass when I can see hundreds of works for the same price at some of the other fairs.
Day 2 – Wednesday
Diane von Furstenburg: Book signing party at DVF pop-up in Aventura Mall
This is where fashion meets Basel. Diane von Furstenburg made her way to Art Basel this year and managed to schedule in a few stops to promote her latest books, “The Woman I Wanted to Be.” And “The Journey of a Dress.” Being the fashion lover that I am, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet the fashion icon. Diane treated her supporters to wine, champagne and some of the most delicious passed hors d’ oeuvres a girl could ask for. She got up close and personal as she signed books and chatted with guests. Though not technically an art related event, I found art in the displays throughout the pop-up store, many chronicling her history as a designer and impact on the fashion world. Like a little gallery within a retail location, every piece strategically on display to showcase the accomplishments of this empowered woman and you know I was all for it.
Day 3 – Thursday
Disaronno Terrace: Miami Art Week Edition with Artist Jeremy Penn
Once again it rained on my parade. Or should I say it rained on my Basel. The Disarono Terrace event, was scheduled to be held on the rooftop of The Gale Hotel South Beach but was unfortunately moved to a rain location, the basement area of the hotel known to locals as the Rec Room. While it’s an interesting location for a Saturday night out, it’s not quite as scenic as a Miami Rooftop on a cool, breezy winter night. Furthermore, planned for this Art Week edition of Disaronno Terrace was an exhibit entitled “The Evolution and the Ego” by artist Jeremy Penn. This exhibit somehow never made it to the basement thus making this event a non-Basel related party with free drinks by Disaronno. I was disappointed by the lack of artwork but the drinks were delicious and there’s only so much complaining one can do when the drinks are delish and did I mention free.
ATC/British Knights Basel After Party: Footwear boutique & barbershop
After Disaronno Terrace we wandered into something. I’m still not quite sure what we wandered into but that’s what made it all the more interesting. Drawn in by the crowd milling outside and music pumping from the speakers, we stepped into ATC footwear. Apparently ATC and British Knights were celebrating the launch of their new T-shirt and hat line collaboration. The footwear was front and center. Actually, a patron in a barber chair was front and center as he received one of the most intricate hair cuts I’ve seen up close from a talented barber from Notorious Barbershop while the footwear revolved around him on an airport style luggage carousel.
Day 4 – Friday
Vibes: The Art of Inspiration Party by Gil Green and 305 Films
Presented by Coors light, this hip-hop meets art shindig has been held in the obscure Toe Jam back lot for three years running. It’s my favorite party of Art Basel. This years event showcased works by director Gil Green and photographers Jonathan Mannion and Derick G. I left my pretentious party pants at the door and came casual (but fashionable) and ready to enjoy old school hip-hop and reggae vibes and tons of random art installations and live graffiti paintings. From a stripped out school bus and part of a cockpit perched high above the crowd, the entire event is an explosion of cool. The explanation doesn’t do it justice. You had to be there.
Day 5 – Saturday
Product Placement Exhibit by Derick G
I’d seen some of Derick G’s work the night before at the Vibe party but he was holding another event the following night at the maps back lot with more works. The Product Placement exhibit provided a party atmosphere similar to Vibes party but on a smaller scale. Derick’s pieces are a little too risqué to showcase here on this blog but I can tell you that the works focus on how sex appeal is used to sell products. Derick G. uses nudity in the female form and strategically placed products from some of America’s most recognizable brands to capture the sexual innuendo. Though I can’t show you pictures of the artwork. Here are some pictures from my evening.
And there you go folks. That sums up my Art Basel experience this year. Typically on Sunday I go out to the Red Dot fair and walk the Galleries in Wynwood along N Miami Ave. It’s a great way to close out the week. Unfortunately, someone tagged my car and to add insult to injury, I came down with a nasty cold that totally killed by Basel mood. Aside from how my week concluded, it was another great year at Basel and I can’t wait until it comes around again next year. Let the count down begin.