Inside the Art Basel Fair: Miami's A-List Party
The hotspots and big shows luring industry collectors to this year's festival.
Art Basel Miami Beach, the biggest art fair in the Western Hemisphere, marks its 10-year anniversary this year. With works on view by 2,000 artists -- not to mention satellite fairs like DesignMiami and PULSE -- it's the buzziest mashup of fashion, art and nightlife in the world. Running Dec. 1 to 4, it draws 46,000 visitors, including celebrities (Beyonce reportedly was spotted asking a couple years back if she could buy half an installation as it would better fit her wall) and collectors (Wendi Deng, Jerry Bruckheimer and Bob Shaye in 2010). "It's like going to the Olympics or Sundance. It can be overwhelming," says producer and LACMA board member Steve Tisch, who is heading there. (Big collectors are among those given VIP passes; they can't be purchased.) Here are this year's hot tickets:
You could easily spend two days walking the Miami Beach Convention Center, where a record 260 galleries are setting up shop. For a breath of fresh air, check out Art Public, concentrated in South Beach's Collins Park, which will include two dozen large outdoor works from the likes of Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst. At DesignMiami (just across the street from the convention center), one highlight will be offerings from London-based gallery Didier Ltd., which deals in jewelry made by artists, including Louise Nevelson. MOCA North Miami (770 N.E. 125th St.; no relation to MOCA in L.A.) is spotlighting rising art star Teresita Fernandez, recently appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Local collectors also open their private homes; this year, the must-get invite is to see selections from the vast haul of art power brokers Adam and Lenore Sender, including works by Cindy Sherman and Chris Ofili.
Alongside traditional power hangouts the Raleigh and the W, add the Shelborne (1801 Collins Ave.) to the list. The Deco hulk, until recently the waterfront strip's last eyesore, just underwent a $20 million makeover. Expect the late-night scene to converge here, notably at the one amenity left untouched: the beloved karaoke bar in the basement. The W, though, has a new draw in The Dutch, the just-opened outpost of one of NYC's hottest restaurants; it's where collector and real estate tycoon Aby Rosen will hold his annual dinner, one of ABMB's top private events.
MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch always throws the week's best bash: This year, he has requisitioned the Raleigh's Oasis (1775 Collins Ave.) for an invite-only Moroccan-themed preparty Nov. 30. That same night, Van Cleef & Arpels is commandeering the private jet-crammed Opa-Locka Airport for the Mirror Ball, a $1,500-a-head fund-raiser for Miami's Wolfsonian-FIU museum, with live performance art by artists Nick Cave and Vanessa Beecroft. On Dec. 3, retail magnates Hilary and Galen Weston will take a clutch of VIPs to Vero Beach overnight to fete their Gallery at Windsor's first exhibition -- work by Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, co-presented by London's Whitechapel Gallery. For his part, Tisch is focusing on art over parties: "The last couple of years, I think there's been too much of a focus on who can get a good table at Mr. Chow. If there's less of that, I'll be very happy."
4 MUST-SEE NEW ART BOOKS
Mex/L.A.: Long Beach's Museum of Latin American Art's catalog to its exhibit (through Feb. 5) is a cultural snapshot of everything from Siqueiros murals and '70s Chicano art to Speedy Gonzales.Hatje Cantz, $60
Plant Drawings: Known for his color-field paintings, Ellsworth Kelly shows another side with these softly beautiful drawings. A Kelly show opens at the Metropolitan Museum in 2012. Schirmer/Mosel, $95
Rita Ackermann: The Hungary-born artist, who broke through with works inspired by the '70s heroin subculture, gets the coffee-table treatment. Andrea Rosen Gallery will show two of her pieces at ABMB. Skira Rizzoli, $65
The Art Museum: Clocking in at 18 pounds and nearly 1,000 pages, this tome imagines a museum populated with 2,500 quintessential works chosen by the world's top curators and scholars. Phaidon, $200