The Best and the Worst of Art Basel in Miami Beach in One Minute
The dinners, the parties, the celebrities, the stabbing.
The bad news about Miami Art Week is that you weren’t there; the good news is you weren’t there. It was overwhelming, fun, art-filled, excessive, rain-soaked, and chock-full of celebrities showing off their art for good or bad. Either way, here’s a quick guide to finding out everything you may have missed in roughly one-minute. Enjoy!
2015 Art Basel Miami may be the biggest ABMB to date, with booths selling out within hours of the VIP opening, new satellite fairs opening like X-Contemporary, shows that stunned like the ones seen at Mana Contemporary, the impressive Purvis Young show that might change your mind about bad hotel art, and Context Art Fair, which offered cutting edge work for the next generation of collectors.
With so much to see we have compiled multiple lists of highlights: the best private collections with art at ABMB, the top booths at NADA, the best booths at ABMB, and a video highlighting the hidden gems of the main fair, including Glenn Kaino’s stunning animatronic singing Pierrot doll at Kavi Gupta.
Outdoing the fairs were the amount of events that were happening: Simon de Pury sat down with Swizz Beatz at a talk where he admitted that Snoop Dogg’s Instagram feed puts him in a good mood, and Wyclef Jean performed at a party at PAMM while Ryan McNamara proved that twerking can be celebrated performance art.
There were events with star-studded guest lists, like the dinner in honor of Sylvester Stallone and Galerie Gmurzynska at Versace’s former mansion.
Art lovers could avoid the traffic on the causeways and enjoy a short ride on UberBOAT to get from downtown Miami to South beach.
While some enjoyed sailing across the water, others enjoyed diving into it—here’s a first-hand account by Brian Boucher of his experience on a dive with artist Trevor Paglen to see NSA-tapped Internet cables and additional pictures of the art world underwater. Who’s watching who now?
Swimming with the fishes wasn’t the only new way to experience art in Miami. Rashaad Newsome brought a little bit of Mardi Gras soul with a parade to the design district, James Capper’s 2,000-pound public sculpture at the outdoor exhibition space in Collins Park could be moved around with controls, fair-goers were given the opportunity to speak to artist Jorge Pardo via his iPad painting, and Amar Bakshi connected Miami to Afghanistan and Mexico City in Portals using a golden shipping container.
Emerging artist Lavar Munroe shocked with bizarre human zoos at Miami Projects, Oscar Winner Adrien Brody debuted his paintings at ABMB, and prankster and retired artist Maurizio Cattelan spoke to artnet about his installation at Untitled.
Key trends that we kept seeing at Art Basel included pioneering female artists. The Rubell Family Collection’s all-woman show “No Man’s Land” is a great example of this recurring trend that confirms what we already knew: Who runs the world? Girls!
Many art lovers, collectors, celebs, and partiers were hoping for a stress-free, sunny week, and instead were greeted with two hours’ worth of traffic and torrential downpour some, like Ryan McGinley and Juliana Huxtable, on their way to Moran Bondaroff’s party with A$AP Mob—capping the weirdest Miami Beach week ever—that took party-goers back to the 1980s in a doing-lines-of-cocaine-in-the-bathroom sort of way.
The proliferation of excess culture within the art world has prompted questions about the current context in which art is viewed today. Christian Viveros-Fauné muses about why Art Basel in Miami Beach is degrading to art and artists and Kenny Schachter tears through fair week and lives to share why Art Basel in Miami Beach is the end of art history.
The excess and sheer amount of money spent during the week in Miami has led to ABMB being nicknamed the Billionaire’s Black Friday—and even presidential candidates are looking to get a piece of the action. While we may not have footage of wealthy collectors stampeding the fair, we do have a list of things overheard at the VIP Preview, and a tracking of the ever-changing nature of “Art Speak.”
The conversation we all want to overhear is the one that wouldn’t stop during Julian Schnabel’s speech, at the celebration of restaurateur Michael Chow, that prompted him to curse at the crowd.
Speaking of hostility, the biggest shock of all, which happened as Miami Art Week was winding to a close, came when a young woman was stabbed at ABMB. Confused fair-goers even thought the incident—the blood and police tape—might have been part of a performance. Photographer Rudy Perez took photos of the crime scene. It was an ending to the week that seemed to bespeak the excess and oddness of this year’s iteration of Art Basel in Miami Beach in a way that no party or dinner could have.
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