Moran Bondaroff Party Caps the Weirdest Art Basel in Miami Beach Ever

It was a strange, strange week in Miami.

Marc Armitano, Ryan McGinley

“I saw a lot of weird things this week,” Mills Moran of LA gallery Moran Bondaroff said at the Shelborne Hotel during dinner on Friday night, the fourth day of a particularly weird installment of Art Basel in Miami Beach. On top of the expected fairgoing mayhem, there was torrential, ankle-deep rain Thursday night that brought traffic to a total standstill. And earlier on Friday, a grisly—though thankfully non-lethal—altercation at Art Basel ended with a woman being stabbed with an X-ACTO knife and another being charged with attempted murder. And then there was the goings on at the Fontainebleau, the site of the NADA fair where the gallery was holding down a booth, a scene which included “people openly doing lines of cocaine in the bathroom,” according to Moran. “It was 4pm and I was like, ‘Miami, what year are we in? Is this the ’80s or 2015?’”

Isaiah Barr, Stella Schnabel

Isaiah Barr, Stella Schnabel

Charlie Billingham, Aaron Bondaroff

Charlie Billingham, Aaron Bondaroff

Friday night obviously favored a mellower drug; the distinct aroma of marijuana rolled through the air as crowds drank and danced around the perimeter of the Shelborne’s pool while a halo of smoke formed above the pop-up stage where A$AP Mob was performing live. Know-Wave, the online pirate radio station of Moran Bondaroff (the gallery formerly known as OHWOW), had taken over the hotel’s poolside cabanas for an all-day concert that started at 3pm, and was headlined by a few longstanding friends in the hip hop collective known as A$AP Mob (everyone in the group has a name that starts with the word A$AP: A$AP Rocky, A$AP Yams, etc.).

“Basically J. Scott [the DJ also known as A$AP Snacks] used to intern for me at this community space on Sullivan Street a long time ago, years ago,” explained Know-Wave founder Aaron Bondaroff. “This is the first time we’ve teamed up to do an event.”

Matthew Langanpeck, Juliana Huxtable

Matthew Langanpeck, Juliana Huxtable

Around 8pm, the gracious hosts added an extra layer of strangeness to the party; behind the backstage area, which was reserved for the VIP set, and through a set of locked glass French doors, the gallery held a candle-lit, sit-down dinner for various artists and friends of the gallery. Juliana Huxtable, Ryan McGinley, and a smattering of overdressed European collectors dined on quinoa salad. On the opposite side of the French doors, meanwhile, Kylie Jenner and Dev Hynes (who had performed the night before with Ryan McNamara at PAMM) were watching the concert, while other members of the crowd smoked blunts and sipped drinks out of plastic cups.

Dev Hynes

Dev Hynes

The party embodied the spirit of Know-Wave, where artist interviews are broadcast with hip hop music. “We’re in this fishbowl, and then there’s the green room, the stage, and this mass of humanity on the other side,” said Moran. “We love that dichotomy.”

Minutes later, booming from the stage came the proclamation, “We ain’t lookin’ at no fuckin art.” The crowd went wild.

A Mob

A Mob

JiaJia Fei, Antwaun Sargent

JiaJia Fei, Antwaun Sargent

Isaiah Barr, Wiki

Isaiah Barr, Wiki

All photos are by Samantha Nandez/BFA.com


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