Art Basel Miami Beach, 2009 - Part I
I’ve just returned from Art Basel in Miami, where all the best galleries in the world gather under one roof to show the biggest and the newest work by contemporary artists. It was a whirlwind of great parties, tons of celebs, and of course, art. And where there is art, there are collectors! And sellers. I went to check out the scene-- art from artists you never heard of (but soon will!) and art from some of the biggest and most famous artists in the world.
The original art Basel started in Switzerland in the early 1970s. Miami Beach Art Basel is more recent, but has become the premiere art fair in the world these days. Galleries from more than 30 countries exhibit here for five days, filled with parties and photo ops, and a chance to really get to see exciting art, through visits to galleries and guided trips through private collections. It all takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center. And I was lucky enough to get the VIP tour through the whole fair!
Giant art collectors like Steve Wynn (of the Wynn Las Vegas!) were sniffing around, museum curators, private sellers and collectors were everywhere. Names being discussed were biggies like Damien HIrst, and new discoveries like Agathe Snow, whose work I experienced for the first time.
Art Basel was filled with fashion personalities like Naomi Campbell, and of course, art maven and iconic figure, Calvin Klein. Edgy designers Viktor & Rolf showed off some of their fashion (but were mostly in town to buy art) at the trendy The Webster, where I attended the cocktail party in honor of the designers, and also had dinner on Friday night. Pharrell Williams showed off his new fashion line at Casa Tua (his vests looked like FBI flak jackets). There were book parties for photographers Sante D’Orazio and Bruce Weber, plus lavish gallery parties going on in every swank venue in South Beach.