What’s the T? does Art Basel Miami Beach
Time for the annual pilgrimage of sun seeking art enthusiasts and their accompanying art advisors, handlers and the like to the city of Miami Beach. The fairs are numerous, spilling over onto the sand and the mainland. This year, my eighth year watching my hometown transform into an art circus, I decided to let the wind blow me where it may. As long as youâ€™re doing something it canâ€™t be that bad. In this special edition of Whatâ€™s the T? weâ€™re serving recap realness and some Miami T for Chicagoâ€™s inquiring minds and wannabe snowbirds alike.
Woke up to the news that Miami B-listers Christian Slater and his girlfriend, Brittany Lopez, tied the knot on Monday. We heard that Slater courted Lopez at her former job at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. Basel Tov!
Why wait until the weekend to party? Even though the â€œbig fair,â€ at the convention center doesnâ€™t open until Wednesday, there are just not enough party hours in the day. By the time we saw Locust Projectâ€™s exhibition by Nicholas Hlobo in their main space and Frances Trombly in the project room it was time. So we begin. Tuesday night marked the opening of Design Miami, the sister fair to Art Basel in Miami as well as in Switzerland.
Always a classy, champagneâ€™d out affair, this year was no different. It was a pleasure to see Chicago design galleries, Volume (showing Jonathan Munecke) and Casati Gallery (showing David Salkin). Trending this year at DM were lamps that look like floating jars, gigantic sand hills, e-cigs (which appeared to be trending everywhere, I think itâ€™s New Yorkâ€™s fault). In attendance were a number of notables, including 2016 Olympic sailing hopeful, Sarah Newberry and artist, Emmett Moore; another celebrity here; Primary Projectsâ€™ Nick Cindric and Robins Collection Curator and Director of Cultural Programming for the Design District, Tiffany Chestler; Bleeding Palmâ€™s Ronnie Riviera (who made a hilarious Basel Death Clock Site); and Locust Projectâ€™s Amanda Sanfilippo with artist, Justin Long. We even ran into our favorites, LVL3â€™s Vincent Uribe and Anna Mort, dressed impeccably as always.
Itâ€™s imperative at Basel to never to stop moving and as our party guru says, always leave the party before it gets old, so before too long we were off the island and en route to the Rubell Collectionâ€™s annual shindig at their museum caliber space in Wynwood. Unsurprisingly, the Rubellâ€™s used the occasion (as they do every year) to feature their daughter, Jennifer Rubellâ€™s, excessive food â€œinstallations.â€ One year it was a wall of old fashioned doughnuts, then there was the year with the honey falling out of the sky.
This year, Jennifer busted out none other than the tiny-pie seesaw. A monstrously long but narrow white table, completely covered in miniature egg custard pies, slowing moved up and down, while waiters brought around bite sized versions of every other desert option possible on silver platters. There was, of course, a copious amount of alcohol (if youâ€™re paying for drinks during ABMB then something is wrong), Perrier (totes trending and in three flavors), macaroni and cheese in martini glasses (donâ€™t ask me), and fried rice in takeout containers. The party was totally banging, but the tiny custard pies were awful. Among the many illustrious guests were Siebren Versteeg and his new gallerist, Miamiâ€™s Brook Dorsch; artists, Patricia Hernandez and Christina Farah.
On our way out we couldnâ€™t resist stopping at the old Perrotin space down the street from the Rubells, The house/ gallery, now Galerie Eva Presenhuber, is simply gorgâ€”classic design and a super sweet back yard, but the party was lame and we werenâ€™t really feeling it.
Disappointed by the quality of the pie and weary of mixing vodka and sugary deserts, it was time for a cheeseburger interlude before moving onto the last stop of the night, Rat Bastardâ€™s fifth annual Anti-Art Becomes Art Show at the only British pub in all of Little Haiti, Churchillâ€™s. We finally got a chance to see Chris Corsano, the wunderkind solo percussionist hailing from Massachusetts.
In the list of things I wish I made it to but couldnâ€™t was the TM Sisterâ€™s beachside performance at the Untitled fair on Monday and Tuesday night. Also not spotted was Kevin Arrow, though we kept seeing his Kenny Scarf paint-bombed Honda Element driving through Little Haiti.
Another day, another art â€œexperience.â€ We ditched the vernissage (sorry Sly) for the opening of Autumn Caseyâ€™s new curatorial venture, Space Mountain, right next to GucciVitton in North Miami. Being a NMB girl myself, I couldnâ€™t be more excited that great galleries are moving north. Space Mountainâ€™s first show, Big Deal, featured 12 ladies and a drag queen, all born in Miami. Needless to say, it was a big deal. Loved the zebra corner piece by Renata Rojo and the drawn over coasters by Beatriz Monteavaro. We spotted the Hartmannâ€™s; and Miami It-girls, Serena Dominguez and Sarah Attias working it in overalls, side boob and Pikachu really hard. Outside the exhibition there was a serendipitous pop-up bar serving seasonal gourmet cocktails with cider and lattes.
After some chill times and good vibes at Space Mountain it was time to head to Mana Wynwood for the Kendrick Lamar with Miami fave and all around sweetheart DJ, DZA. After much confusion and a bunch of naked ladies painted by Vanessa Beecroft and Kanye West (Iâ€™ll save you the suspense, Yeezus was a no-show), we found ourselves on a couch in the VIP section popping bottles and waiting for Kendrick. Waiting for Lamar took for-ev-er. Though the event started around 9 or 10 PM, Kendrick Lamar didnâ€™t grace the stage until almost two in the morning. The only thing that made the waiting bearable was DZAâ€™s super danceable sets in between each set.
If we did anything after Kendrick Lamar, it probably shouldnâ€™t be repeated here anyway.
Header image is a detail of Vincent Uribe’s Basel Arm.
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Thursday already? NADA VIP opening was obvi a must. Itâ€™s the only fair worth going to, in my opinion. The booths were looking fresh as always and the Midwest was repping hard with great booths from Scott Reederâ€™s American Apparel shirts in the lobby to Shane Campbell, our boys at the Green Gallery, and Midway Contemporary Art from Minneapolis. Locust Projects, Miamiâ€™s premiere non-profit gallery space had a booth right next to Midway with items priced to sell, including an edition of hip art historical hats from artist and yacht boy, Justin Long.
Booths with no art were definitely trending at NADA. One booth just featured a copy machine spitting out invitations for another exhibition and we heard gallerist David Lewisâ€™ sickness led to his empty booth, featuring an advertisement and email address. As far as booths that actually had art inside of them go: NYCâ€™s The Hole booth was only half unpacked, with burned work by Kaspar Sonne and gigantic pours by Holton Rower suspended inside of plywood shipping crates. We were also stoked to see those sweet little Alain Biltereyst we loved at Devening on view with Jack Hanley gallery. John Rippenhoff at Green tipped us off to the mini XYZ collective booth, where we about died over the purple eggs and collages by soshiro matsubara.
Anya Kielarâ€™s large scale screen prints at Rachel Uffnerâ€™s booth looked like cyanotypes and were just gorgeous. Could have lived without the gigantic beer cooler piece that everyone seemed to love, but I am still regretting not pouring myself a pina colada at San Juanâ€™s Roberto Paradise Gallery, who were also showing work by Jose Lerma and Tyson Reeder. Lermaâ€™s mirrors were irresistible to Luis Gispert as well, we ran into the artist checking out the booth. Another Miami native, I was also stoked to see his work at Rhonaâ€™s booth in the main fair.
Also spotted! Dan Gunn, but not that Dan Gunn, and a super preggers Lisa Cooley. She was really working that bump!
By the time I mad it outside to the deep bass van outside of the fair I was ready to move on. Though the booths looked awesome, we were disappointed at the lack of chill on-going pool party outside. Just one medianoche from downstairs and we were out.
The official PAMM opening took place to much fanfare and back rubbing from the Miami community. Itâ€™s as if no one even noticed that the museum is still a construction site. Later that night Cop City Chill Pillars, great band and old friends from West Palm, played at Churchills to a small yet enthusiastic crowd.
Friday morning is made for collector brunches. Some pastries at the Craig Robins collection followed by the best coffee at the de la Cruz Collection building. Oh, and I guess the art was OK, too. As per usual, the Miami collectors were ping-ponging off each other, with both collections prominently featuring Sterling Ruby and Wade Guyton. We were also surprised to see some new stuff, like Hugh Scott-Douglas (who at the ripe age of 25 was all over Basel and NADA) and a massive Rob Pruitt installation on the third floor of the de la Cruz.
Rich people and their handlers abounded. Weâ€™re pretty sure we spotted Klaus Biesenbach chatting it up with the fiery Rosa de la Cruz through an impressive Dan Colen basketball backboard sculpture.
After sneaking in a quick lunch at Michaelâ€™s Genuine (where we saw many of the collectors getting turned away by the 2 hr wait), it was back to the beach for some lounging at the Mondrianâ€™s Friends with You pool installation on the bay. By the time we saw the sun setting under FWYâ€™s gigantic inflatables we were ready for what was yet to come.
In a scene out of a sleezy Miami Vice episode, we slinked into the Kettle One/ Gigiâ€™s party in Wynwood using just a name in order to pregrame for the Youth Code show at Gramps. Not only was the LA duo pretty hot, their set was awesome and way under appreciated by the too cool crowd at Gramps. Right after the YC set we bounced back to Churchills just in time to catch Wolf Eyes at Andrew McLeesâ€™ Look Alive two day music fest. The crowd was super NYC and super enthusiastic, though I thought the Wolf Eyes set was incredibly boring. Why are they famous again?
Saturday already!? We were almost at the finish line. Whatâ€™s the T? spent Saturday getting back to our roots at the Bad at Sports bathroom recording booth. We jumped on the mic with Duncan McKenzie, Brian Andrews, Patricia Maloney during their interview of Miamiâ€™s the end/ SPRING BREAKâ€™s Patricia Hernandez and Domingto Castillo. We mostly talked about boats, German cinema and 9/11. If it sounds confusing, thatâ€™s because it was. Without Richard Holland around there was no one to keep the jokes on schedule. Iâ€™m looking forward to hearing the cacophony posted on the podcast.
Otherwise, we thought the Dimensions Variable booth, featuring work by Frances Trombly and Martin Oppel amongst others was maybe the only thing worth seeing at PULSE aside from the chill hammocks outside of the Ice Palace.
After wrapping up the interview, we headed to the #followmeto (have you seen this thing? Itâ€™s ridiculous!) party at The Versace Mansion. Yes, that Versace Mansion. Shout out to our girl Linling at Inside Hook for hooking it up. The party was awesome and someone even jumped in the heavily mosaicked pool before the night was over! It was totally tripped out.
Since we were already on the beach, we decided to hit up Sandbar for the NADA party. Usually a choice against our better judgment, the Fade to Mind takeover was pretty rad. We ran into our Midway Contemporary pal, Nathan Coutts, along with most of the other NADA exhibitors and too many NYC snowbirds to count. More than anywhere else I had been last week, this party was on the internet. Check out born-to-blog Adam Katzmanâ€™s piece in the Miami New Times about the evening.
Loathe to let the evening end before 5AM, we made our way over to a warehouse on 71st street to catch Jelly, a star-studded trio featuring the Kerr brothers and Rainer Davies. As soon as we got there ran into Bhakti Baxter taking a disco nap and as soon as the show was over we had to turn in too.
We survived all the way until Sunday! We took our sweet time waking up and heading down to the convention center in order to say our final goodbyes to ABMB. Not really giving a fuck about the convention center, we checked out a few of the booths that we knew would be sweet (Rhonaâ€™s, Metro Pictures, Two Palms, Hauser & Wirth, Blum & Poe, etc). Mostly, we were there for the NOVA section, featuring galleries like Spinello Projects (which we heard sold out) and 80M2 Livia Benavides from Lima, Peru.
Walking through the fair we saw a bunch of art handlers we knew ready to pounce when the public finally left, but we also ran into old friend and Curious City producer, Logan Jaffe with her sisters, Hunter and Chandler. Hot ladies with dude names? Yes please. We also wanted to check out the â€œpop-upâ€ bar by Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher in between booths N26 and 27. The bar, Paradise Working Title, was staging Club Nutz on Saturday afternoon with Brian Cooper and members of the audience trying to make stiff Basel goers laugh. Artist, Malcom Stuart, was on the mic ripping a few as well. There was also a stripping magician and blood. Thatâ€™s all Iâ€™m gonna say.
After the fair and some sushi on Lincoln Road, we headed over to the misleadingly titled Babes of Bushwick party on Collins Ave. They called it â€œPool Party,â€ yet there was no pool. Very disappointing. I thought the Sandbar party was on the internet, but this party was the internet proper. Still a good time though and we ran into some choice Miamianâ€™s and our generous SF B@S bureau. We also ogled over our new BFF Malcom Stuartâ€™s collection for Joyrich. Seriously, though.
With just a couple of hours of Basel remaining we headed back to the mainland and Gramps for the tail end of the Black Cobra BBQ. Straight from the Gramps to Miami International Airport and back into the tundra. Hello Chicago.
Shout out to Radz for picking out the two biggest trends of Basel: #ecigs and #purses. Thanks Miami!
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