The Week of Excess at Art Basel Miami
By Stephen Stuart
In its 13th year, Art Basel Miami it's not just about the art anymore. When jetsetters, celebrities, billionaires, art collectors and artists congregate in a city for a week where billions of dollars exchange hands, the sponsors ensue with a dizzying array of lavish parties, openings, and fetes- each one more lavish than the next competing for attendance by the A-listers.
At the epicenter of the Miami art week is Art Basel Miami Beach held at the Convention Center drawing 267 of the most prestigious galleries from around the world which was attended by over 73,000 visitors making it the leading art show in America. To navigate through the expansive fair, new sectors were featured including the art historical Survey area with 13 galleries; Nova which was limited to works made in the last 3 years; Positions featured 16 solo shows of emerging international artists, and the Edition sector showcasing prints and works in multiple editions. One of the highlights of the show was Galerie Gmurzynska's exhibition project, A Kid Could Do That, which was a collaboration between Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Nellee Hooper. This provocative conceptualization featured key 20th century masterworks from influential artists including Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Robert Indiana, Cy Twombly, and Francis Bacon.
This year more art fairs than ever were held during Miami Art week. Smaller galleries and lesser known artists were able to display their works at satellite fairs such as Scope, ArtMiami, Aqua, NADA, Pulse, SELECT, Spectrum, UNTITLED, Red Dot, amongst others which were dotted around Miami Beach and the Wynwood district. Not to mention the numerous outdoor art displays including the Laurence Gartel art car on swanky Fisher Island and the Moroso installation project at the Botanic Gardens. While it was nearly impossible to hit them all in a week, there were plenty of opportunities to experience a cultural overdose.
By night the Miami Art week turned into a playground for the rich and famous with some art dabbled in for good measure. The Bass Museum's opening for One Way: Peter Marino kicked off the week's festivities. As the renowned architect for the Louis Vuitton flagship in NYC, naturally they were the sponsor along with Chanel and Dior where every room had a different theme that intertwined the worlds of fashion, art and design.
An event that merges art and philanthropy is the 5th Annual Bombay Sapphire artisan series which is a collaboration with Russell and Danny Simmons' RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation that is a nationwide competition for the next big artist. The 12 finalists celebrated with a bevy of celebrities, artists, and influencers at a cocktail soiree at the Soho Beach House. Other parties drawing A listers were the Rimowa store opening in the Wynwood district as well as the VH1 and Scope opening party at Mansion.
By Sunday the Miami art fair bid adieu until next year, and if past is a prelude to the future, it will be more grandiose than ever.