By George Wayne
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the recent Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 fair was the simply marvelous presentation of outdoor and site-specific installations in Collins Park - the bit of acreage fronting GW’s long-time favorite museum in Miami Beach, the Bass Museum Of Art.
As one of the first journalists flown down to Miami many years ago, I became a personal guest of the then active Mayor. It was at a time when there were still only two hotels on Ocean Drive, Tony Goldman’s Park Central Hotel and the Carlyle. It was also at that time that I first encountered what would remain for me a true bastion of art in the region, the Bass Museum. Founded by John & Johanna Bass the museum still houses an amazing collection of Old Masters, featuring – among others - jaw dropping works from Peter Paul Rubens.
The recent presentation of outdoor sculpture for Art Basel Miami Beach was dubbed ‘’Social Animals’’ and featured such signature pieces as Tom Friedman’s massive stainless steel sculpture of a man peeing - full stream, the ominous yet synergistic bronze totem-like work by Eureka, and Scott Reeder’s stand-out hit - a huge graffiti like giant cut-out with REAL FAKE written on top.
Curated by Nicholas Baume, the Director And Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, the Fair was a master class in efficacy and managed to display just how successful a great contemporary art extravaganza can be. Clearly, it was still possible to engage the general public. Inspiring yet accessible, the traffic-stopping event caught most by storm.
In the five or so years since GW has been attending ABMB, the 2013 edition succeeded in being a tad more glamorous, a bit more charged, and exponentially more exciting than in previous years. Though it never lacked in ideals or ambition, the sheer magnificence of the content this year was breathtaking.
Art Basel Miami Beach draws a flock of some 50,000 or more of the richest, chicest, coolest and ‘artsy fartsiest’ patrons on the planet. The parties are on another scale entirely. GW won’t soon forget the fabulous soiree at 1500 Ocean Drive – a behemoth of a penthouse owned by local playboy - hosted by the iconic basketball player Scottie Pippen and Omega watches.
Absolutely incredible - the billowing wind, the non stop top shelf bar, the bounty of canapés, the pretty women, and, of course, how can I ever forget the fabulous chick – the one who had no hesitation in pulling out her smartphone and showing off the completely nude ‘selfie’ of her boyfriend whom she missed so much, a hot Navy Seal flashing quite the most impressive dong I have seen in some time. I mean only in Miami would some chick you just met pull out her phone to show off a completely nude photo of her beau merrily flashing his Johnson.
Then there were the fabulous nightly parties hosted by New York impresario of the moment Omar Hernandez and nightlife God Patrick Duffy at the old Playboy Mansion in North Beach. And, then there was the most amazing Saturday night I have experienced in a while. There we were on Hibiscus Island - yet another secluded Miami enclave filled with luxury mansions and jetties and amazing outdoor art - where of course the divine Zoe Saldana chose to host a fabulous champagne soiree with the local Ocean Drive magazine. Standing there in Ivory Lanvin, Zoe was simply radiant. Giddy with joy over being able to introduce her new husband Marco, she flashed us her well-rehearsed smile and escorted us into a lustrous world of endless revelry and romance. We had a wonderful chat, and I asked her if she would at all be interested in getting a job a-la Jennifer Lawrence as exclusive Brand Ambassador to say Dior. ‘’Of course I would love that,’’ she purred in the sexiest, most breathless voice imaginable, ‘’but that decision of course would have to be mutually beneficial to both parties.’’
GW is still shocked that a siren and diva the likes of Zoe Saldana with a superior sense of style like Zoe Saldana is still devoid of a major beauty or fashion contract.
It was, however, left to uber developer Aby Rosen to host the party of parties for Art Basel 2013. The huge, champagne soaked bacchanal is where yours truly got to double kiss his long time buddy Lenny Kravitz, have a good laugh with Steven Tyler all while making fun of the obnoixious Jason Binn behind his back. In addition, this is where I got to finally really talk art with the highly erudite Alexander Rodriguez. Informing about what can only be referred to as a gorgeous and macho piece of work at the Vancouver Canada gallery - the Apartment at the ABMB offshoot New Art Dealers Alliance – I opined that the work would make a perfect set piece at the screening room’s foyer of his no doubt opulent Miami Beach mansion. The huge, printed mylar Hollywood movie stills of legendary Cowboys & Indians would make for more than conversation. At $22,000, it was – in GW’s not humbled opinion – a great bargain. From the famous artist Garry Neil Kennedy, dubbed ‘’Cowboy And Indians’’ 1991, it would likely be worth a lot more in years to come.
Burnishing his credentials as New Yorks new version of nightlife impresario Steve Rubell, Aby Rosen has recently opened Diamond Horse Shoe cabaret/nightclub in the bowels of the Morgans Hotel in New York City. In short, he has quickly become the talk of the town. His Art Basel party at the W Hotel was almost as chaotic and celebrity filled as those long lost nights at Studio 54 back in its heyday. Lavish, impeccably thought out, with Dom Perignon endlessly flowing… well, thank you Aby Rosen.
You would have thought that GW would have been completely sated and exhausted after that long fabulous weekend in South Beach. But there was still the matter of his own Fiftieth Birthday celebration – one he had to host at the chic new uptown boite called Tokya at the end of December. Yes, as you likely guessed, it did turn out magnificently. Truth be told, it was the very best birthday party I have ever had. Anna Maria Tornaghi, Noel Mignott, Matthew Addison, uber sports agent Nelson Pena and the cute Soul Artist Model boys… I thank all you wonderful folks who turned up and made my 50th more memorable than even the number merits. It was, to be succinct, simply fabulous. Now for some recovery time before... Oh look, the New Year is almost upon us. Well, as they say, no rest for the wicked. Not even for the wannabe wicked elite. Don’t worry. I’ll be in touch. •