The New York Times wrote about it a few days ago, we said it here last year and now that Art Basel 2013 has wrapped, it's abundantly clear that Miami's annual art fair has outgrown appealing to merely the top echelon of art industry bigwigs. While serious art collectors may view the growing hoopla around the fair in the same way that fashion editors roll their eyes at the circus around Fashion Week, the fact that something as highbrow as an art fair has become cool is an incredible phenomenon that not only helps boost Miami's economy and cultural influence, but exposes thousands of people that would otherwise have no interest to the art world.
Art Basel aside, there are countless fairs including Nada, Untitled and Design Miami that set up shop around South Florida, showcasing some of the most bankable modern artists along with a slew of promising up-and-comers. In tandem, there are innumerable events from fashion-themed brunches to book signings to design talks.
Here's a look at some of the week's most notable moments.
Porsche Design x Thierry Noir
The Porsche x Thierry Noir collection made its debut at an evening event that included a performance by Lolawolf and a step and repeat fashioned out of a piece of the Berlin wall. Noir, a pop artist, began painting the Berlin wall in 84 and his works survived the longest of any artist after the wall's fall in 89. For the collection, Noir took the brand’s signature TwinBag and incorporated his own signature hand-painted ‘heart faces’ to create 200 unique bags which will go on sale January 2014.
SURFACE+AC/E Design Dialogue with Francisco Tardío
Surface magazine regularly hosts Design Dialogues and its first Art Basel one was held at the “Tapas: Spanish Design for Food” exhibition in the Design District and featured Francisco Tardío, director of Centro Cultural Español in Miami, and Luis Eslavaa, principal of Luis Eslava studio. The highlight? Guests were treated to a table full of Luis Eslava's edible alcoholic concoctions.
Rob Pruitt's 2013 Art Awards
Margaritas, a stripper pole, confetti blown out of cannons every 20 minutes and artist Spencer Sweeney as the DJ made for quite the night to fete the winners of Pruitt’s Art Awards. It all took place in Baoli's beautiful courtyard....where there was also a maxi size pregnancy test.
Surface Magazine's Kanye West/Jacques Herzog Design Dialogue Moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Surface magazine's second Design Dialogue of the week was moderated by famed curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and featured Kanye West and Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron. The after party included a Pharrell and P. Diddy performance. Little surprise it was widely considered the event of the week. Shake Shack, per West's request, was served along with Corzo and Kim Kardashian stayed for the full two-hour talk, which included some humble moments from Kanye. The rapper went into great detail about how challenging it has been for him to educate himself in art/architecture and rise above his humble beginnings. That said, he didn't forget to also mention that he was considered an art prodigy by the age of 14. The full recording will be available for purchase on iTunes.
Grey Area Debuts Limited-Edition Yoga Mats
What better way to debut a series of limited-edition yoga mats than with outdoor yoga at the Mondrian Hotel? That's just what design group Grey Area did, in partnership with Lululemon, to showcase its line of eco-friendly mats, each of which was designed by an up-and-coming contemporary artist.
Maria Brito Fetes New Book at Marni
To celebrate her book, “Out There: Design, Art, Travel, Shopping,” Maria Brito hosted a cocktail party in Marni's Design District boutique where the brand also unveiled its 2013 Resort Collection.
Tracey Emin Brunch
Tracey Emin was the talk of Art Basel. Not only does she have a new exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), “Tracey Emin: Angel without You,” but one of her pieces was on the cover of Basel's official catalog. She has also released a handful of limited-edition items to go along with her MOCA exhibit, which you can get at the museum or at the Fontainebleau. To fete it all and to meet the artist, a book signing and brunch was held at Scarpetta.
Issa London Lunch
Set beachside in a tent at Soho Beach House, Issa hosted a Mark Ronson-DJ'd lunch that included models draped in the brand's latest designs and furnishings custom made with Issa prints.
Hans Ulrich Obrist Book Signings
Two book signing were held — one at Books & Books and the other at the Webster — for Hans Ulrich Obrist and it took less than two hours for the curator's two books and the Collector's Issue of Surface with his portrait by John Baldessari to sell out.
Christian Louboutin hosted an event in its Design District store to celebrate a series of commissioned works by Carmelo Tedeschi, whose seamless hand carved leather sculptures will be on display in the boutique through January 2014.
Bernardaud Reception at Ligne Roset
The tasteful cocktail event was held at the Ligne Roset store to fete a series of limited-edition dinnerware pieces created for Bernardaud by artists including Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel and David Lynch.
Harper’s Bazaar set up a pop-up shop, BAZAAR@, at Soho Beach House and held a series of events throughout the week. In addition to shopping a curated selection of designs by the likes of Alexander Wang and Valentino, Givenchy was on hand for makeup touch-ups and Moroccanoil for hair. Kenzo was also there for skincare...who knew Kenzo had skincare?
Colette x Alchemist Art Drive Thru
Iconic retailers Colette and Alchemist joined forced for an "Art Drive Thru" designed by Rene Gonzalez Architect on the fifth floor of 1111 Lincoln Road, the famed parking lot designed by Herzog & de Meuron. In addition to a gorgeous store space, there were drive-thru stations where, instead of ordering food, you could buy limited-edition items that ranged from Will Cotton/Ladurée macarons to a Zaha Hadid candle.
PISTON HEAD: Artists Engage the Automobile
ArtNexus Beach Party
Held at the Mandarin Oriental, the ArtNexus Foundation held a silent auction of Latin American contemporary artworks. It was the only event of the week where flats were not only recommended, they were encouraged — each guest could exchange their heels for flip flops before heading to the waterside event.
Star Island Security Hazards
If there's one major downside to the rising popularity of Art Basel, it's that Uber doesn't work in Miami and getting a cab can be impossible. Unfortunately, sometimes car service doesn't guarantee smooth sailing either. Star Island, where a slew of events were being held, was so packed the night of Hublot's celebration of their Caviar Tutti Fruitti watch that the sheer number of cars in the valet section was a security hazard. Lesson learned...arrive early or find yourself stuck in the backseat of a car. There was also this on Star Island...
The best way to stay calm when sitting in the inevitable bumper to bumper traffic that comes with event hopping? Start your morning with a workout. While Barry's Bootcamp failed to deliver on its promise to open by the fall, Flywheel and South Beach Boxing — where everyone from Adriana Lima to Will Smith has trained — were packing in the crowds.