Art Basel Miami: What Were Your Best Moments?

by Natasha Wolff | October 28, 2012 12:00 am

DuJour asked festival-goers to tell us their three favorite moments from this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

Aggie Gund, art collector

*It’s always impossible to feel like you can see or do enough during Art Basel-this year was no exception. One highlight was a wonderful 30-year retrospective of the work of fashion designer Isabel Toledo and her husband, artist Ruben Toledo, at the Freedom Tower[1]. They are a remarkably talented and prolific couple, and the exhibition was beautifully integrated and designed.

Isabel and Ruben Toledo

*I also loved having an opportunity to meet with YoungArts[2]‘ founder Lin Arison and executive director Paul Lehr and be treated to a tour of the former Bacardi complex which will be the spectacular new home of the YoungArts organization. Lin is so generous and has done so much to help young artists in every discipline, and this new space will give her group a tremendous presence in the city of Miami. It is a real gift to the city, and I couldn’t be more impressed or inspired by what Lin, with Paul at the helm, is accomplishing.

*Lastly, a chance encounter turned into one of my most fun moments, when I stumbled upon the opening of Architecture for Dogs[3], in the Design District. Ten designers were recruited to create high-design breed specific dog houses and structures. These were pretty fabulous, especially to a dog lover!

Brooke Garber Neidich, co-chair of the Whitney Museum[4]‘s Board of Trustees

*Seth Price’s vacuum-formed bomber jacket at Friedrich Petzel[5]‘s booth

*“Plane Text”[6] with quotes from Hank Willis Thomas, Alexis Smith and John Baldessari, which looked great from the beach and our hotel.

Alexis Smith’s Plane Text banner

*Joan Washburn’s booth, where every piece had wonderful, informative wall texts…Art History 101.

Casey Fremont, director of the Art Production Fund[7]

*Visiting the De La Cruz Collection[8] was truly one of the highlights of my trip. I loved seeing works by Rashid Johnson, Aaron Curry, Rob Pruitt, Dan Colen and Rudolf Stingel. This is a truly magnificent collection.

*The Bugatti by Bernar Venet Party at the Rubell Family Collection[9]. Nothing is better that enjoying delicious Nobu surrounded by excellent art and sexy cars-it was the perfect mix of work and fun. I always look forward to visiting The Rubell Collection and this year I loved seeing the large scale works by Zhu Jinshi and Oscar Murrillo.

The Bugatti by Bernar Venet

*Nothing beats the pool and spa at The Standard[10]. I don’t think I would have survived without a morning in the steam room and a swim in the pool. Best of all, guests can wrap themselves in Art Production Fund’s giant artist-designed beach towels-this year, by John Baldessari and Cecliy Brown.

Angela Westwater, founding partner of Sperone Westwater[11]
*Thank goodness I was able to visit the new pop-up store of Agnona [12]in the Design District-the clothes looked elegant and easy. And the party favor, a beautiful scarf, made me want to go back and buy more!

Agnona in the Design District
*The Tate Museum[13]‘s party at the W South Beach[14] was lots of fun-a great mix of International Council patrons, collectors, dealers and museum representatives, headed by Chris Dercon, the director of the Tate Modern. It was a tequila party and very lively.
*Barry X Ball[15] was one of six solo exhibitions presented in the “The Endless Renaisaance” show[16] at the Bass Musuem of Art[17]. The exhibit showcased his new work, one bust of Pakistani onyx paired with another of Mexican onyx. I liked the new materials; they’re very distinctive, an intense beauty that one doesn’t always associate with his sculptures.

Rosette Delug, Los Angeles-based art collector

*I thought NADA[18] was very well stocked with really beautiful art, even though I saw pieces for $75,000!! Still, it was a thrill to see the same artists who were displayed in the main fair also represented at a satellite fair.

*The best new art seems to be from older artists in their 60s and 70s like Betty Tompkins and Jack Whitten, who are finally being appreciated alongside the sexy young ones.

*Soho Beach House[19] is still the place to converge upon, even after all the parties and new clubs (Silencio this year, Le Baron last year and this year).

Soho Beach House

Bill Powers, co-founder of the art website[20]

*Going to A-Rod’s house party and checking out his art collection again. He has one of my favorite John Currin paintings of all time, plus a great Adam McEwen gum painting.

*Mark Flood set up a secret installation in a suite at the hotel where NADA holds its annual art fair. Love his new lace paintings.

*The Still House Group[21]‘s “Banana Hammock” show which they set up near Art Basel proper. Louis Eisner debuted a new slide painting, and overall the vibe was refreshingly unexpected.

Bettina Korek, founder of ForYourArt[22]

*”Rethinking the Encyclopedic Museum” with Thomas Campbell (Met) and Michael Govan (LACMA). This conversation[23] between the charismatic leaders of two of the most important museums in the world covered big ideas[24] ranging from art education to why art is important. Talk flowed at the Absolut Art Bureau speaker’s dinner[25] the night before.

*Andrea Bowers installation at A-Rod’s house. Bowers’ swing-a reference to her experience as a “tree-sitting environmental activist[26]“-was installed in the Yankee’s batting cage overlooking Biscayne Bay.[27] called it “sleazy and weird in a way everyone likes.”

*Scandinavian Indie Dance Rock. My best dance of the week was during the Swedish group Lykke Li’s performance at LA MOCA’s Beach Party[28] at the Raleigh hotel.

Amy Sacco, lifestyle entrepreneur

*I was able to visit the set of the Starz television series Magic City[29], which is an architectural dream of late 1950’s Miami designed and created by writer/director Mitch Glazer. It was breathtaking, and I felt like I was walking back in time-the detail is so real that often people try to check in to the hotel.

*A lazy Thursday at the very chic Chopard[30] Luncheon in the penthouse of Soho Beach House. Their new collection of jewels inspired by Marilyn Monroe is simply over-the-top and sure to be snapped up for red carpets worldwide. Then it was off to the W South Beach hotel with pals for a bit of surf and sand, but nothing escapes the bizarre glamour of Art Basel as we watched Vito Schnabel being trailed by 30 or more paparazzi as he walked down the beach.

The Chopard luncheon at Soho Beach House

*My highlight was the weeklong party of my first nightclub venture in Miami at The Gale Hotel[31] aptly called The Rec Room. It boasts a few thousand vinyl records, and doing the preview during Art Basel ensured the list was beyond fabulous. I must have lost at least 10 pounds on the dance floor!

Adam Shopkorn, consultant and cultural ambassador for Morgans Hotels Group[32]

*At NADA[18], Parisa Kind Gallery[33] had cardboard stools for their staff to sit on which were meant to look like stacked pizza boxes. Each stool was probably 6 to 8 large pizza pie boxes. Parisa told me she could have sold them 10 times over; however, these stools were not for sale. Everyone who came to her booth kept asking, “Who’s the artist? Who’s the artist?” I thought that was a very Art Basel Miami moment.

*I loved Jonas Wood’s Spalding Basketball wallpaper at Anton Kern[34] at the main fair. He covered an entire wall within the booth, and I believe they were selling it by the foot. That wallpaper is something I would have loved to have in my room when I was 12 and something that I’d love to have in my room now.

*Having lunch with my wife at La Sandwicherie[35] is a a must. I live off the food at this spot when I’m down in Miami. All the ladies love Olivier, and all the guys do too. I love watching his staff to see if they can hang with his demands in such a tiny work space. If you go, have the sandwich on a croissant.

La Sandwicherie

Jason Pomeranc, founder of Thompson Hotels[36]

*Watching Curtis Kulig tag “Love Me” on the floor of the pool at our hotel (Hotel Victor[37], soon to be Thompson Ocean Drive).

*Seeing “Concord” by Paul Villinski[38] at Pulse[39].

*Overhearing a guest at A-Rod’s party at his home say, “Why wouldn’t he clean up his construction materials if he was having a party?” The guest was looking at a work of art-I think it was called “Earthquake.”

Steve Birkhold, president and CEO of Lacoste[40]

*Lacoste + Campanas Celebration at Soho Beach House. For our Basel celebration, it was important for us to bring awareness to the Florida-based Everglades Foundation[41]—a charity we continue to support through sales from the limited edition T-shirt launched at the event. It was wonderful to see guests having a great time while also backing a fantastic cause.

*Dinner at Milos[42]. This is always my go-to place for top-notch seafood and Mediterranean cuisine. It was great to be able to spend the evening with our team while enjoying such impressive food and wine.

Milos Restaurant

*One of my top moments at Basel was witnessing the frenzy and excitement at Soho Beach House throughout the week. They throw parties like nobody else—their door Thursday night was a who’s-who of the fashion, art and celebrity crowds.

  1. Freedom Tower:
  2. YoungArts:
  3. Architecture for Dogs:
  4. Whitney Museum:
  5. Friedrich Petzel:
  6. “Plane Text”: http://../../../2012-12/713/morgans-hotel-group-expands-to-the-skies-plane-text
  7. Art Production Fund:
  8. the De La Cruz Collection:
  9. Rubell Family Collection:
  10. The Standard:
  11. Sperone Westwater:
  12. Agnona :
  13. Tate Museum:
  14. W South Beach:
  15. Barry X Ball:
  16. “The Endless Renaisaance” show:
  17. Bass Musuem of Art:
  18. NADA:
  19. Soho Beach House:
  21. The Still House Group:
  22. ForYourArt:
  23. conversation:
  24. big ideas:
  25. speaker’s dinner:
  26. tree-sitting environmental activist:
  28. MOCA’s Beach Party:
  29. Magic City:
  30. Chopard:
  31. The Gale Hotel:
  32. Morgans Hotels Group:
  33. Parisa Kind Gallery:
  34. Anton Kern:
  35. La Sandwicherie:
  36. Thompson Hotels:
  37. Hotel Victor:
  38. Paul Villinski:
  39. Pulse:
  40. Lacoste:
  41. Everglades Foundation:
  42. Milos:

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