For anyone unfamiliar with the event, Art Basel Miami Beach stands out as the foremost North American art fair, known for its comprehensive representation of international contemporary art. This gathering attracts a diverse community, including artists, art dealers, collectors, and enthusiasts, fostering a vibrant convergence of creative minds. Unfolding at the iconic Miami Beach Convention Center, the meticulous event is organized into distinct sections, each emphasizing a unique curatorial focus.
The main sections of Art Basel Miami include:
Galleries: The central area where premier galleries showcase significant works across various mediums.
Positions: Dedicated to solo exhibitions by emerging international artists.
Nova: An exhibition space featuring presentations from galleries highlighting new and innovative works.
Survey: Focused on presenting artworks created before the year 2000, showcasing historical relevance.
Meridians: Showcasing curated projects directed by specific individuals, featuring cutting-edge contemporary art.
Kabinett: A curated selection presented in a dedicated section of the booth, featuring thematic group exhibitions and solo presentations.
Art Basel Miami Beach provides a unique platform where renowned artists and celebrities alike converge to indulge in fine dining, extravagant parties, and the exclusive acquisition of artworks. With over 270 leading galleries sourced from 33 different countries, the event caters to every level of art buyer in the market. It fosters various collaborations with internationally renowned institutions, private collections, and cultural partners, adding an enriching layer to the overall artistic experience. The fair’s significance extends beyond its main exhibits, drawing attention to the numerous satellite fairs, exhibitions, and cultural events that collectively define Miami Art Week.
This was my first Art Basel and the amount of information I received from friends about different events was overwhelming! Fortunately, my husband and I have a good friend who’s a VIP in the art world. We were invited along as his +2 for a number of VIP private events during the week leading up to the fair opening to the public.
DAY 1: Gallery Dinner
The first event we went to was a private dinner hosted by the Friedman Gallery to celebrate their artists for some of their VIP collectors at the Garden House Latin Restaurant. I had no idea what to expect. A quick Google search revealed that the restaurant was casual, so I went with an outfit that was on the plus side of casual. You can never go wrong with leather pants, especially patent leather pants! (You can shop all of my Art Basel looks on my LikeToKnow.it page. For a quick primer on how LikeToKnow.it works, simply click here).
All in all, there were about 20 of us at dinner. We met the gallery owner, his significant other, the gallery’s new Director, and a number of collectors. The food was good, the conversation intriguing, and fun was had by all. I had hoped to meet some of the artists they were featuring, but none of them were able to make it.
DAY 2: The White Cube Party
White Cube stands as a preeminent contemporary art gallery, representing over 60 international artists and artist estates. The gallery, founded by Jay Jopling in London in 1993, has supported and promoted influential artists for over 30 years, hosting exhibitions across three continents. Over the years, White Cube has expanded with a more diversified gallery roster representing artists from 33 countries while remaining committed to making the contemporary historic and the historic contemporary. With a long publishing history, innovative design, and rigorous scholarship, White Cube continues to make a significant impact on the global art scene- especially in Miami.
The White Cube Party was the most coveted ticket of the preview week. Who knew?!?! It was held at Beach House or the Miami SoHo House for the uninitiated. I’ve been to Beach House many times; the circular drive at the front can be a bit of a cluster on New Year’s Day and during the season. But, I’ve never been to an event like this at Beach House, where the circular drive was turned into a queue replete with velvet ropes and kiosks to check-in.
My Look For The Event
I bought this dress 6 or 7 months ago. I knew it would be perfect for something; I just wasn’t sure what. When I saw the invite for the White Cube party, I pulled out this dress. The shape and zippers make it a bit edgy, and the denim gives it a less formal look. I wish I had better photos, but when you’re rollin’ with the fellas, photos aren’t a given.
This dress is from a European brand called Locker Room. The company is owned by 2 women who are creating xtravagant fashion for the independent urban woman. I own a few pieces from Locker Room, their clothes are versatile, comfortable, and exciting clothes by fusing classic streetwear fashion with subtle elements of elegance and femininity. I think the thing I love most is that they’re both petite and as a result, their clothes are cut well for smaller women.
The party was held in a huge tent on the beach. I don’t have great photos because, as a rule, SoHo House doesn’t permit photos. To be honest, I was having too much fun – photos were an afterthought. Anyone who’s someone in the art world makes an appearance at this party. I met the Director of the Guggenheim, the Chair of the Board at the Whitney, and the list goes on. What I loved about this event was that everyone was friendly and there to have a good time. I expected there to be a lot of pretense, and there really wasn’t. We arrived at 7:30 and finally stumbled home at 2 am.
DAY 3: Beach Day
After a late night, we slept in and enjoyed the morning. Then we went back to Beach House to spend a few hours in the sun. Thankfully, it was only in the low 70s, and the beach was fairly empty.
Ulla Johnson: One of My Favorite Dress Designers
This dress is by Ulla Johnson. I bought my first Ulla Johnson dress while vacationing in Capri. It was pricey, but I’ve worn that first dress so much that I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth and then some. Ulla Johnson has dresses for just about every occasion; I love them for travel because they’re pretty yet comfortable. I can sleep in them on a plane for 12 hours and arrive at my hotel looking like a million bucks!
Ulla Johnson is an American designer, born and raised in Manhattan; she honed her signature style between the streets of New York and the far-flung destinations of their family travels. Her eponymous line, founded in 1998 just after her graduation from university, immediately caught the attention of the fashion press.
Back to Art Basel. The plan was to go to the Untitled Show and then a preview of an emerging artist being held at an undisclosed location. After partying like rockstars the night before, I decided to head home and get some rest. I’m so glad I did. The guys didn’t get back until the wee hours of the night.
Day 4: Art Basel
Day 4 and I was finally going to the Art Basel exhibition! I had to think long and hard about what to wear because we had three different things on the day’s agenda. We had a brunch at someone’s home, Design Miami, and then Art Basel itself. I wanted to be chic and look like I was a part of the “art” world. However, it was in the high 60s, not typical Miami weather. So I needed comfortable shoes to walk through the exhibits. Originally I had a completely different outfit picked out, but it was for warmer temps and included heels. After a bit of deliberation, I decided on this number. A midi dress (that clearly needs to be hemmed!), Loewe sneakers and a bouclé jacket. I think it worked for my purpose – I was comfortable, chic, and layered.
In the days leading up to Art Basel, I heard from a few friends that the best events were the private brunches and dinners held at different homes. I couldn’t quite conceptualize what they meant, but I was delighted to learn that our VIP friend had been invited to one. The brunch we went to was at the most exclusive apartment building on South Beach. Jay-Z and Beyoncé used to have an apartment there; they may still own it for all I know. Anyway, trust me when I say the building is fabulous.
The apartment was more like a 5,000-square-foot house that just happened to be in an apartment building. The elevator opened into a foyer filled with art – art was on the walls, sculptures on the floor, and unique textiles on the furniture. Words will never do the experience justice. The apartment was amazing, the art collection breath-taking and the people watching next level. We met artists, collectors, and heads of museums from all over the world. The brunch? It was the least interesting part – there was a variety of breakfast tarts, loaves of bread, coffees, juices, and cocktails. There were at least 100 people, if not more, there. The experience did not disappoint.
Afterward, we had lunch at Call Me Gabby, one of my favorite restaurants on South Beach. And then, we headed to Design Miami. Established in 2005 by entrepreneur Craig Robin, Design Miami/ celebrates the global design community, providing a dynamic platform for collectors and enthusiasts. With its status as a global authority in collectible design, it’s known for hosting acclaimed fairs showcasing historic and contemporary furniture, lighting and objets d’art.
Artist Malene Barnett and The Wexler Gallery
A good friend of mine, Malene Barnett, made her debut with the Wexler Gallery at Design Miami. It was great to see her, see her art on display (art that I saw when she was making it), and take it all in.
It was so cool to see this piece in particular because it was a part of Malene’s MFA final project at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. In the Spring of 2022, I visited Malene in Philly at Temple a few weeks before she presented her MFA project. It’s such a different world, it was amazing to see her creativity and the different pieces she was working on. Malene works in a variety of mediums – clay/ceramics, watercolor, photography and various textiles. She’s a true artist!
Who knew that Malene and her work would be a part of Art Basel just one year later?!?!
And last but not least, we made it to Art Basel itself. I enjoyed the show; but to be honest, I think all of the hoopla before-hand was my favorite part. Here are a few shoots of the Art Basel exhibit itself and pieces that caught my eye.
There’s so much to see; you really need to give yourself at least 2 days to fully browse and enjoy the art. Believe it or not, by Day 4 prior to the Art Basel exhibition hall opening to the public, most of the art has been purchased.
Have you been to Art Basel in Miami? I can’t wait to hear about your Art Basel experience.
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