Art Basel has come and gone and we had a bitter sweet week to say the least. I remember my first Art Basel when I moved here in 2008 and I’m not sure when the scene transitioned but this year it was such a mess. Ultra Squared anyone? Regardless of the scene – I will say that I had a blast checking out some of the hottest artists and events in town. Aside from Thursday night’s monsoon that kept me away from a Young Arts Concert – I loved every second of the week!
My top 3 favorites from the week ranged from artist installations to evening fiestas. I would love to capture all of the events from the week, but there isn’t enough blog space to cover it. So below are my top 3 highlights that made this #ABMB2014 a memorable affair.
Coming from the industry – I know a thing or two about a good brand party and Absolut never disappoints. Their rooftop soiree atop the new Edition Hotel on Miami Beach was one of my favorite stops of the week. Absolut Elyx created a first-of-its-kind, pop-up private club on the top floor of Ian Schrager’s new Edition Hotel in Miami during the week of Art Basel. The two thousand square foot space was transformed with bespoke cocktails, a secret speakeasy and rooftop plunge pool. My favorite part was sipping on the the cocktails served out of the heaviest copper pineapple glasses while soaking in the views of Miami Beach. Absolut if you would like to send me a set of these copper pineapple glassware, I will happily serve my dinner guests your signature cocktails each time they visit! Think about it 😉
Ai Weiwei and Bert Benally’s Full Immersive Dome Program
In collaboration with the New Mexico Arts’ Art in Public Places Experimental Dome Program, CONCEPT Art Fair premiered Ai Weiwei and Bert Benally’s 2014 film “Pull of the Moon.” Weiwei a Chinese dissident artist (and one of my favs) joined forces with the Navajo artist Benally to create an experimental immersive video commissioned specifically for the specially designed 50 foot video projection dome centered in Bayfront. The video was a collaboration of a land art project at Coyote Canyon, Navajo Nation and featured flashback scenes of the diminishing of the Navajo tribe. The video also commissioned two young musicians to rap lyrics throughout the video, and I still can’t get the beat out of my head. Regardless, I loved this installation and I appreciated the historical perspective of the Navajo Nation. I wasn’t too familiar with the tribe and the tribulations that they face as a culture. Gentrification is something that we can all relate to – and this video captured how time may not heal all wounds.
Miami Design District Opening
Art Basel might only come once a year but the new Design District is here to stay. The beautiful new complex has installations from artists representing countries from all over the world. Centered in the complex’s Palm Court is Buckminster Fuller Fly’s Eye Dome. But it’s not just the installations that captured my attention, the design of the building’s architecture is something to relish. Sou Fujimoto one of the most forward thinking architects of our time designed the building façade while keeping in mind Miami’s aquatic nature… including our rainfalls. The two-story structure features an elongated series of glass fins extending from the rooftop down to the open courtyard. While checking out the new Design District we were caught in one of our infamous monsoons inside Fujimoto’s design – maybe it was fate? Regardless the new Design District is an innovative and beautiful complex rain or shine. I can’t wait until all of the retailers and dwellers have moved it – this area is going to have great energy surrounding it in the not too distant future.
My favorite part of Miami Art Week and Art Basel is people watching and celebrity spotting. This year A-list celebrities were not the talk of the town – our local protesters took the spotlight. The most beautiful art in the world is human rights and respecting those rights is an important part of humanity. And while I am a fan of protecting those rights – I am not a fan of disrupting other people’s rights (the right to drive) to make a statement. I am grateful that our local protests were peaceful and created awareness for the intended cause. However – I am not a fan of locking down an interstate highway because that in itself is just an idiotic move. I appreciate that protesters capitalized on this international event to make a statement and fully support their actions to create awareness – after all that’s our right as Americans. Next time just leave the commuters alone – the last thing we need is a road rage incident to make international headlines.
Basel Sign-Off Kisses,