Highlights from Art Basel Miami Beach


Art Basel Miami Beach is one of America’s top art shows. As a cultural and social highlight for the Americas, it is the sister event of Switzerland’s Art Basel, and combines an international selection of top galleries with special exhibitions and crossover events. Equally important is that it gives the art-conscious fashion world a reason to party in Miami’s Art Deco District, on the beach in December.

More than 250 leading art galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa will exhibit 20th and 21st century artworks by over 2,000 artists.

But will anyone even be buying art? Larry Gagosian did stop by, and Yvonne Force Villareal was around, but the number of art collectors seems to be shrinking like the rest of the big spenders have been disappearing lately.  But it is Miami, and a recession is no reason to cancel a party.

That was the mentality shared by various hosts and hostesses who provided ample opportunity for fun last week. Here’s a look at a sample:

Colette, she of the eponymous boutique in Paris, was feted at The Mondrian Hotel. An intimate dinner in the hotel’s Asia de Cuba restaurant was hosted by N.E.R.D. frontman Pharell Williams. Colette’s daughter Sarah Lerfel, Cecilia Dean, Chris Bollen, and dealer Emmanuel Perrotin all joined the fun.

Surface Magazine and the Guggenheim Young Collector’s Council had a party at the Gansevoort Hotel. Katie Lee Joel and Fabiola Beracasa came to view the works recently acquired by the Guggenheim which were on display.

At the Miami Art Museum, guests were greeted by an enormous silver Jeff Koons bunny balloon—which paraded in New York during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Interview magazine served tuna tartar and Sagatiba cocktails to guests including Marc Jacobs, Lorenzo Martone, Chris Bollen and Glenn O’Brien.

Visionaire magazine and editor Cecilia Dean launched Visionaire 55 SURPRISE in the Raleigh Oasis. The usual suspects were joined by Franca Sozzani, of Vogue Italia, and stylist and reality TV star Rachel Zoe.

At Andrew Cramer’s Art War, sponsored by the Accompanied Literary Society and CREATETHEGROUP, guests sipped Moet and 10 Cane Hemingway daiquiris, while artists Aaron Young and Ryan McGinley went behind the Raleigh Oasis, for a round of paintball war. Teams emerged to battle for the prize: a jeroboam of Moet and a weekend stay at the Standard hotel.

The Mondrian hosted another an intimate dinner earlier in the week, with silver balloons lining the ceiling in homage to Jeffrey Koons and Mary-Kate Olsen and Andre Balazs attending. Next door, Russell Simmons hosted a dinner with Whitewall Magazine. Le Baron was the ending point for everyone who wanted to dance into the night.

Silvia Venturini Fendi had a dinner at a private home, while Puma celebrated with the Rubell Family Collection, and Allison Sarofim and Stuart Parr hosted a party at Casa Tua to promote Edmiston yachts.

“Diamonds, Gold and Dreams,” a video installation by David Lynch, was unveiled at the Cartier Dome opening night dinner, co-hosted with them by Vanity Fair and MOCA. Vanity Fair’s Ingrid Sischy and Sandy Brant lent the guest list additional clout, while Julian Schnabel, Becca Cason Thrash, Calvin Klein, Naomi Campbell, Wolfgang Puck, and Kirsten Dunst attended.

DJ Paul Sevigny spun at Simon de Pury, Todd Eberle and Tommy Hilfiger’s Vanity Fair and Free Arts NYC party fêting American photography. Guests included Dee Ocleppo, Ally Hilfiger, Yigal Azrouel, Katie Lee Joel, Glenn O’Brien and the Guggenheim’s Dana Farouki.

Also seen at the fair were Stephanie Seymour, John Currin and Rachel Feinstein, Thelma Golden, Stefano Tonchi, Jil Sander, Cynthia Rowley and Chuck Close, not to mention musicians Shakira, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Grace Jones, and Lenny Kravitz.