In Miami, Fashion Continues to Invade Art WorldSince half of creative New York has moved down to Miami this week for Art Basel, we sent reporter Alexandra Peers down with them to peek at the art, beauty, and elitism on the beach. She’s been filing reports to New York’s Vulture blog, but she sent us this dispatch for our very own.
The e-mail buzzes on my BlackBerry: “We would love to have you come by to pick up something — for the Miami dinner celebrating the Emilio Pucci house of design.” What? Sorry, fashionistas, snobby art-worlders don’t borrow clothes. My outrage is first personal — has someone dished my Bloomie’s little black dress? — then, political. It sounds Fascist.
As Art Fair Ends, It Becomes Clear: Girls Ruled
Amid the dense and hedonistic five-day spree of partying at Art Basel Miami Beach, it’s easy to forget that millions of dollars of art changed hands, too. And when the rhinestones had settled, the surprises went far beyond the no-shirt dress code (for men, at least) at the Visionaire party Saturday. Art dealers at the fair, which drew a record 40,000 attendees, had braced for Russian buyers, hedge-fund spending, and buzzy interest in the new new things. Instead, Latin Americans went on a binge, artists from the seventies outdrew emerging stars, and there was furious — even competitive — buying by a suite of New York–based real-estate developers.
So who bought what?
At Art Basel’s Weekend Parties, a Literal Social Whirl
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.
Russell Simmons, Star of Art Basel
MIAMI BEACH — You don’t tend to find guys in baseball caps at art fairs. So when you spot one at Art Basel Miami Beach, it’s a good bet who’s underneath it: Russell Simmons. The Def Jams founder has been holding court this week at the Delano, the festival’s headquarters. His high-profile presence at Art Basel — he’s often seen chatting on the hotel’s front porch or just walking down the street in cap and jeans — has been a boon to fair organizers, some of whom have fretted privately that the otherwise hugely successful event has been a little low on non-art-world star wattage. Simmons — an Art Basel vet — is here to host a variety of events, most for his arts-education charity, Rush Philanthropic. But he’s also art shopping.
What does he collect?
Last Night, Morocco Came to Miami
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.
Doing Good at Ralph Lauren; Eating Late With David Bouley
MIAMI BEACH — Fashion met art at Art Basel Miami beach last night, and this was not necessarily a good thing. The worlds collided in David Bouley’s place — specifically, his gorgeous new South Beach restaurant, Evolution, where Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon was throwing a fête for the Whitney. The problem: There were other, nearly as important places to be, and stops at those other events made everyone very late for this one. What were the rivals? A Russell Simmons dinner at the Delano penthouse, and a lush UBS-sponsored dinner, where billionaires were as common as palm trees. At the packed and chaotic Ralph Lauren party to benefit RxArt, which was one of the rare and welcome charity events at the otherwise largely venal Art Basel, the wife of a hedgie, bearing an invitation, was initially denied entrance — to a store, she noted, annoyed — because she hadn’t RSVP’d. (Once she got inside, she’d find Andrew Shriver, Nikki Haskell, Gene Pressman, Bob Colacello, the lovely mom of Ralph Lauren exec David Calle, and some nice clothes.)
But what about back at swanky Evolution?
Paying for Drinks, Partying With Deitch
MIAMI BEACH — South Beach started to resemble spring break last night — but with much more money, and with Europeans. There was a preview of the actual art at Art Basel from 6 to 8, which gave everyone a chance to check out the maze of work from galleries all over the world. A VIP collectors’ suite was actually for collectors of other expensive things, like jets and beachside condos. Cipriani, Related, Netjets, and Bulgari had outposts to offer consolation prizes if you couldn’t get the art you wanted because it had already been bought or, more likely, because the gallery wanted to sell it to someone better than you. Unlike New York corporate parties, however, there were no free drinks flowing to impair inhibitions. These companies may have had enough marketing cash to be in a classy place, but there was a cash register set up on the bar. Not classy at all.
But later things got classier.
At This Year’s Art Basel, Not All VIPs Are Created Equal
MIAMI BEACH — Money walks. And strides. And even pushes, as it did when the huge metal doors swung open at Art Basel Miami Beach today and several thousand collectors poured into the art fair. Soon enough, developer Aby Rosen was chatting with Larry Gagosian by a Lichtenstein nude, Benedikt Taschen was inquiring about prices for most of the Zwirner booth’s works, and Keanu Reeves was drawing a small, neck-turning crowd as he shopped. The Miami Beach Convention Center was so crowded that some dealers from rival fairs closed their booths for the afternoon. “Everybody’s here,” said Robert Goff, of the buzzy NADA fair, where Steve Cohen and Charles Saatchi are usual shoppers.
Art Basel is expected to attract 40,000 shoppers over five days, and a quick look at its wares shows how radically the art market has changed since last year’s event.
Welcome to MiamiArt Basel Miami Beach — the major art show that brings together 200 galleries, selling the works of more than 1,500 artists, and puts them all in front of the international coterie of rich people who might buy something — kicks off Thursday. The art world is already making its way down to sunny Florida, and New York will be there to chronicle the whole thing, from art market to meat market. Check out the Art Basel preview from this week’s magazine, and come back all week for Daily Intel’s reports from Ocean Drive.
Manhattan Beach [NYM]