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Vogue‘s 10 Highlights from Art Basel Miami

Art Basel Miami Beach is the art world’s ultimate winter break, where most networking is done besides the pool at Soho Beach House before the fair itself (the final opportunity of the year to reel in five-figure sales) has actually opened. The world’s eyes are usually on the parties where rappers rub shoulders with collectors and the fashion crowd dress to the nines, rather than the art, and the electric atmosphere is largely triggered by temperatures that won’t dip below 21 degrees Celsius in the shade (day or night). For the no-holds-barred partygoers, this might be the last opportunity to pull off a lightweight full-designer look (Gucci, Prada or Dior preferably) to rival any oil heiress popping into town to pick up a William Eggleston for the spare room. Here are the 10 things you need to know about Art Basel Miami Beach 2017:

When A$AP Rocky calls for silence, you zip it

ASAP Rocky outside the Dior Homme show 2017 in Paris, France. Getty

Revellers at Artsy and Gucci’s Bath Club soirée treated to a one-off piano performance by musician Dev Hynes were given a telling off by a frustrated Rocky, who jumped onto the mic to call for silence as chatter looked set to drown out Hynes’s live set. “This is not the time to socialise, there’s an artist on this stage,” he called out. “Y’all being more rude than I am right now. Pay attention. Eyes over there.” After a rapturous applause, order was restored.

Remember the name Danny Fox

The 31-year-old Cornish-born California-based painter’s solo show at the Bill Brady Gallery in the Little River area (north of Downtown Miami) drew collectors away from the hubbub of South Beach, and was well worth the cross-town drive in rush hour. When we arrived on Thursday, still damp from an afternoon dip at the Standard Spa, every painting in the show – a mixture of still lifes, landscapes and figurative abstractions – had already been snapped up and rapper Lil Wayne was cued up to visit the gallery after finishing making his next music video in the neighbouring warehouse.
“Painting is about painting – moving it around until the way it’s applied is interesting,” Fox said. “The observational works are actually mostly created from memory – the belly-ache feeling of being young.”
Our advice: Invest now.

The Faena hotel on South Beach has a cricket farm for when the world runs out of protein
Yes, this odd looking structure is not a stunt by an attention-seeking artist, but a genuine year-round ‘kitchen garden’ for in-house Texan chef Paul Qui. At the time of writing we hadn’t yet sampled Qui’s locally renowned insect dish, but a reservation is set for 8:45pm EST Friday…

“Art fair fatigue” is considered a legitimate illness at Basel
As in – “I can’t make that three o’clock meeting with X, I’ve been at NADA since 10am and have art fair fatigue.” At least, that’s what we overheard in the collector’s lounge.

Paris Hilton is still partying like it’s 1999
(Thank goodness.) As spotted wearing sunglasses on a podium in The Box night club pop-up beneath the Faena hotel.

The art will be in unexpected places

From set designer Es Devlin’s twisted hotel room maze that awaits behind a velvet rope at the back lobby of The Edition, to Studio Drift’s 300-strong flock of drone birds that illuminated the night skies above South Beach, or Swedish glass artist Frida Fjellman’s suspended crystals hidden inside the ABMB’s exclusive Net Jets lounge, it pays to enter the realm of the unexpected. “When I do public installations it’s about messing things up a bit. You’re working with a space that has other uses, but you want to alter the experience of being in that place,” Fjellman explained from underneath a chain of her ambient octahedrons (the lighting changes to create a wave of coloured light through the crystals similar to the Northern Lights). “You need to be here to experience their mood-altering effects and the heaviness of the glass, but you might have come for another purpose.” Only one in two of her larger crystals, which look like the glass stopper of an Art Deco perfume bottle, will survive the high temperatures during fabrication. The rest explode under their own weight. Is this an antidote to the dark Scandinavian winters or the fair’s harsh booth lighting? “Definitely.”

The dodgier the party location, the better
Everyone talks up the parties at Basel – particularly how fashion has hijacked the art – but this won’t be like any fashion party you’ve ever been to before. Prada delivered the ultimate high/low party concept, reviving Carsten Höller’s conceptual London dance club, The Double Club, for a three-night stand in one of the shadier ends of town. The rule in Miami, where even the most luxurious bashes are concerned, is: anything goes.

Don’t wear Calvin Klein’s transparent plastic dress (or anything plastic)

Art Basel Miami

Calvin Klein Fall 2017. Indigital

The trend for see-through PVC hasn’t yet reached South Beach, not will it ever. We’re speaking from experience when we say that “foggy greenhouse” is not a Vogue-approved look.

Picking between Cardi B and Princess Nokia performances on Thursday night was cruel, Basel. Really cruel.
Two major female artists, two different parties at opposite ends of town :(.

Listen to Lisa Schiff (Leonardo DiCaprio’s art advisor and founder of Schiff Fine Art)
“Basel 2017 has seen gallerists and collectors exhibiting and buying more gender and ethnically diverse artists. Mary Corse, Lee Krasner, Jack Whitten, and Henry Taylor are just a few examples of critical artists of quality whose work has been undervalued or over looked. It’s great to see them be contextualised and highlighted. What’s been my personal highlight? The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s new collaboration with PAMM and Design Miami.  We are working with artists to commission work relating to the environment. There is an Andrea Bowers neon on the outside of the museum now as well as a stunning landscape painting by Tomas Sanchez on the interior of the museum, and the documentary ‪Before the Flood‬ is being screened there throughout the month.”

First published on by Julia Hobbs

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