Art Basel Miami Beach at 10

A decade of debauchery, deals, and disasters.

Basel's Best Parties: Penis Cannons and Versace Bacchanalia

When the notoriously conservative Swiss first parachuted into town in 2002, they thought they would teach us a thing or two about high culture. As it turned out, we educated Baselites on how to transform party into a verb.

In 2003, Casa Casuarina on Ocean Drive (the former Versace mansion) put on a Miami-style clinic on the art of partying. At the unofficial Basel bash, themed for the Hieronymus Bosch painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, revelers watched nude, snake-entwined Adam and Eve models serving canapés and decadent desserts, enjoyed an aphrodisiac raw bar, and slobbered over scantily clad dancers writhing to tribal beats.

FriendsWithYou's "Skywalker Parade" wowed crowds in 2006.'
Ivylise Simones
FriendsWithYou's "Skywalker Parade" wowed crowds in 2006.'
Only hobos loved this 2007 car-wreck art piece called Mind the Snails.
Ivylise Simones
Only hobos loved this 2007 car-wreck art piece called Mind the Snails.

By 2004, seeking street cred with locals, the motto for Basel's happy hour at the Art Positions installation officially became Fuck Art, Let's Drink .

"I love the anything-goes mentality that Basel brings, the street-drinking mania. It's like a more socially accepted Calle Ocho without the baby chongas," says local artist Alouishous San Gomma, AKA Ahol Sniffs Glue.

Perhaps the most amazing recent party — a fete at the Raleigh last year featuring a jaw-dropping live LCD Soundsystem show ­— is recounted by the Wet Heat Project's Grela Orihuela: "Yes, we throw the best parties... but it's about the art. Even after the fair packs up and goes, Miami will be making art."

Hands down, my favorite Basel party was the Fredric Snitzer Gallery's 30th anniversary fiesta in 2007.

Snitzer had splurged on a pig roast, and the band Ache Caribe was entertaining hundreds with a raucous guaguanco. Smartly attired women swayed their hips and ripped up divots of grass with their spiked heels in a fenced-off lot. Outside on the curb, an unwashed and smelly Jacquelyn Jackson Johnston was selling "nickel bags" of art. She held a cardboard sign that read, "Will trade art for beer." At her feet, Phluffy Danger, her Doberman pinscher, was destroying a stuffed toy.

The shindig was amped up further when Brooklyn's Black Label Bike Gang showed up on custom wheels. After climbing down from his mutant bike that looked like a rolling praying mantis, Doyle Shuge, sporting a Frankenstein T-shirt and a chapeau, ambled over. He then torched a joint laced with hash, quickly attracting a crowd.

As Shuge's spiked butt was passed around, Moss Nowheir of the Black Label crew removed a four-foot carved-foam penis, which he called "the Squizzer," from his bike. Scooping up the cotton guts from Phluffy's mangled plush toy and adding a mixture of beer and oatmeal whipped into a sticky gruel, he stuffed the phallus's end.

Nowheir used a bicycle pump to fill his bizarre pink contraption with air before offering me the honor of pressing the trigger and launching the contents over the partygoers. A gallery attendant emerged from the sudsy fog, smiled at me politely, and then turned to ask the bikers to zip it up.

"We just got shut down because we didn't ask first," Shuge laughed before sparking another bone and taking a puff.

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7 comments
Jessica
Jessica

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ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

Art Basel Miami Beach at 10...@readers:disqus My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

ChrisTan1
ChrisTan1

My step-sister Mhaye got $43/hour just working on the computer. She have been unemployed for 5 months but last month her check was $7921 just working on the internet for few hours.Read about it Here (=====http://bit.ly/pVhh1F ====)

 
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