basel blog

Last Night, Morocco Came to Miami


Yvonne Force Villareal and Leo Villareal at Yvonne’s Standard party.Photo: Patrick McMullan

MIAMI BEACH — The celebrities at Art Basel Miami Beach are rich collectors and powerful gallerists, for the most part, which means the sightings are usually less than glamorous. (Look, there’s Tony Shafrazi in orange swim trunks!) But one bit of Hollywood celebrity hanging around has been Keanu Reeves, who was spotted last night by the bar at the Standard and quickly ushered into the dinner there hosted by Yvonne Force Villareal and Mark Fletcher. When a photog tried to snap his picture, Reeves begged to share a smoke instead, offering up a menthol cigarette as a consolation prize. It worked.

Inside, the art stars were lounging on $50 beach towels designed by Richard Phillips, Marilyn Minter, Rob Pruitt, and Alex Katz that are sold through Target to benefit Force’s Art Production Fund. It was very Morocco meets Miami, and everyone looked good in the low candlelight.

Unlike most other Art Basel events, this party had real, live artists, including Jack Pierson, Dash Snow, Hope Atherton, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Leo Villareal, and Aaron Young, who had already sold his cool sand installation (at another, non-Basel art fair) to a New York museum. John Currin and Rachel Feinstein stopped by for their only Basel event; Feinstein noted that her husband considers being an artist at Art Basel like being a pig in a sausage factory. (Paul McCarthy, we’ve heard, has compared being an artist at Art Basel to watching your parents have sex.)

Next stop was a penthouse party at the Setai, which happens to smells like money — just ask guests like Larry Gagosian, Dan Loeb, and Benedikt Taschen, who we hear has emerged as the weightlifting champion at the hotel’s gym. The hotel and condo tower has a very sexy outdoor lounge, with a very unsexy wind tunnel that sounds like they’re pumping Pink Floyd through the speakers. Some Basquiat collectors were hosting the party in the penthouse, which has its own pool and goes for about $45,000 a night. There were no celebs — neither art world nor Hollywood — just a lot of French people. Mandy Moore, however, had been spotted earlier that day, at the hotel’s restaurant, but word was she’s staying at a friend’s condo.

Gagosian, for his part, was set to leave today — an early departure is a status must. Playboy gallerist Tim Jeffries also left the fair early, but first he hung art at Casa Tua (Miami’s answer to Soho House, but with better food and older members). The work was on display for a late-night dinner party hosted by Dr. Cem Kinay to launch a private island development in Turks & Caicos. Zaha Hadid is among the architects commissioned for the development, which gives the whole thing art-world legitimacy, because she was pretty much the biggest badass in town this week. Hadid was dining at Kinay’s table with Hollywood heavyweights Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. Did the Hollywood glamour make things more exciting? “It’s boring in there,” said Vito Schnabel, before dessert was served, as he jumped into a taxi outside. —Deborah Schoeneman

Last Night, Morocco Came to Miami