basel blog

At Art Basel’s Weekend Parties, a Literal Social Whirl


Glenda Bailey, Martha Stewart, and Jack McCullough at Bailey and Nadja Swarovski’s party Friday night.Photo: Patrick McMullan

It was a social whirl — quite literally — over the weekend at Art Basel Miami Beach, as weathered partygoers plotted their overflowing dance cards while the wind picked up, the rain beat down, and it felt like a hurricane was going to sweep away all the art and all the money and Steve Martin, who had arrived at the fair and was giving Keanu Reeves some competition for most Hollywood-celebrity sightings.

Friday was the weekend’s busy night.

Nadja Swarovski and Glenda Bailey hosted a party to view chandeliers and designs commissioned by the crystal company, plus a limited-edition crystal issue of Bailey’s magazine, Harper’s Bazaar. Hussein Chalayan’s innovative dresses, which vanished into a hat on the runway in Paris, were a hit with guests including Martha Stewart. And Ross Lovegrove’s solar-powered car of the future resembled a design by Zaha Hadid, perhaps a tad too closely.

Over at the Raleigh, Arden Wohl was screening her short film, Coven, for friends including the girls of Rivington Arms, the boys of Proenza Schouler, and the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. That damned wind, however, caused the penthouse tent to buckle, and the already cramped party was moved indoors while pandemonium erupted on the entrance line in the lobby. Things would go much more smoothly for the Visionaire party in the penthouse the next night, when the wind had calmed down a bit and caviar was served.

The two hot dinner tickets Friday night were Jennifer Rubell’s barbecue at her family’s collection, which featured a man walking a pet lettuce, and Craig Robins, Ambra Medda, and Travel + Leisure’s dinner for Designer of the Year Marc Newson. Robins’s house is on the bay, where there was less wind and all was good. Kanye West showed up with his entourage, all wearing athletic jerseys — a foreign sartorial choice for the art-world crowd. Swarovski was hungry and went hunting for food in the kitchen. “Do you know where I can get a steak?” she asked a man in a black suit, thinking he was a waiter. It was André Balazs. Amalia Dayan told us that Jonathan Meese, who had co-created an amazing installation with Tal R called Mother (a pink castle filled with sex toys, dolls, and sexual sculptures) at her Bortolami Dayan gallery in Chelsea is allegedly a virgin — and lives with his mother.

Dan Colen was spotted swigging champagne from the bottle late night at Le Baron, where Accompanied Library Society was hosting a party, attended by David Byrne; the night’s popular D.J., Spencer Sweeney; and the art fair’s best-dressed party-hopper, Casey Spooner. Art Basel Miami director Sam Keller showed up around 3:30 in the morning. The wind howled on through the night, giving everyone on the packed dance floor all the more reason to keep the party going.

By Saturday there was a collective feeling that the festivities were best left to Paris Hilton, who the jet stream dragged in. Banana Republic and Vanity Fair hosted a party with MoMA featuring Doug Aitken, who has a big show opening at the museum next month. Mirabelle Marden and Melissa Bent of Rivington Arms hosted a Cuban dinner in Coral Gables at Max Farago’s parents’ Chinese-style house. By Sunday morning, D.J. Paul Sevigny’s records were swooshing out at LaGuardia’s baggage claim. “I love art fairs,” said Cecily Brown, Sunday night in Manhattan — but she didn’t make it to Miami. “It was so quiet here; I got so much work done.” —Deborah Schoeneman

At Art Basel’s Weekend Parties, a Literal Social Whirl