Art Basel Miami Beach 2015: Winners and Losers
Art Basel is finally over. The behemoth art fair that sweeps into our fair city every year has packed its bags and blown us a very European kiss goodbye. And in its wake, it's inevitably left both the victorious and the conquered.
We here at New Times have rounded up our winners and losers from Art Basel 2015. Relive the best and brightest, the worst and the vicious.
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Despite the constant threat of heavy rain, the Pérez Art Museum Miami put on the third-annual PAMM Presents, a showpiece of their Miami Art Week programming. This year they paired performance artist Ryan McNamara with Devonte Hynes (AKA Blood Orange) for a one-night-only spectacle that fused music, art, and dance into an obtuse tackling of the immediate cultural environment. Despite the environmental constraint, the deluge subsided for the two-hour piece, located on the museum’s wrap around veranda. Once the dancers wrapped up, storms clouds picked up once again, flooding the custom built stage. - Neil Vazquez
Panel Discussion, from L to R: Nicole Ehrlich, Nathaly Charria, Natalie White, Fischer Cherry, Karen Bystedt, and Millie Brown
Omar's Beach Cabana Pop-Up
Omar Hernandez, the provider and namesake behind Omar’s New York, opened up an exclusive pop-up Beach Cabana that hosted some of Basel’s biggest buyers, curators, and talent. The invitation-only supper club took over Miami Beach’s Women’s Club for three nights were they threw dinners, brunches, and cocktail receptions for the Wall Street Journal, White Hot Magazine, Nicole Ehrlich’s Third Annual Celebration of Women in Art, and an Ellen von Unwerth show curated by Stacy Engman, among others. The exclusive cabana was an off-shoot of what’s become New York City’s hottest ticket for key players in the media, art, and creative industries. - Neil Vazquez
Over the weekend, there was a dedicated Snap Story to "Art in Miami" — with a special geo-filter and all. Though the story pulled mostly snaps from Design Miami, Art Basel at the convention center, and throughout Wynwood, it gave the world a nice snippet of what we have to offer during the first week of December. - Carolina del Busto
Carolina del Busto
The Rubell Family Collection
According to artist Micol Hebron’s “Gallery Tally” project, almost 70% of artists represented by galleries in New York and L.A. are dudes. She also recently assessed that a mere 18 percent of Artforum covers featured work by women artists. This year, it seemed galleries, collections, and museums heard Hebron’s message and made certain that the fairer sex was well repped during Miami Art Week. In particular, we were swooning over the Rubell Family Collection’s “No Man’s Land." The massive space, which is as big as a museum, featured only work by female artists from its collection. Breathtaking, satisfying, and impactful, the show featured works we’d never before seen and staples of the Collection that we look forward to experiencing year after year. Jennifer Rubell’s interactive food art performance “Devotion” addressed practical romantic compatibility by employing an engaged couple (Alban de Pury and Fanny Karst) to slice, butter and serve bread to art fans. It’s up to those in control to even the playing field – allowing female voices a platform for new eyes and ears and taste buds — and the Rubell Collection, provided that without being heavy-handed or trite. - Liz Tracy
Swamp of Sagittarius
When times are tough, people often turn to the cosmic realm for clues to uncover what lies in store and how to improve their lives. Even JP Morgan founder, John Pierpont Morgan, was noted as saying, "Millionaires don't use astrologers, but billionaires do." Artists Naomi Fisher and Agatha Wara both have interest in the otherworldly and decided to bring "Astro-driven Forecasting Solutions for Contemporary Art" to the largest art market in the country, Art Basel. For their interactive performance installation "Swamp of Sagittarius" at Hidden Bar in the Nova Section of the Miami Beach Convention Center, they brought in their artist-astrologer friends Marty Windahl and Morgan Rehbock to divine the financial futures related to the contemporary art market of folks visiting the fair. We followed the smells of essential oils cast in lovely wax sculptures to this peaceful enclave for a reading of our natal chart. Read about our revealing experience here. - Liz Tracy
This list would not be complete without a mention of the horrible weather last week. Most people who come to Miami during Basel do so "because of the weather" — joke was on them when Miami decided to be moody and extra humid. Hymns of "rain, rain go away" quietly resounded in everyone's head while most people stayed indoors and avoided melting in the heavy downpour. - Carolina del Busto
Seems like every year we talk about the traffic. But it's only getting worse with each passing Basel. Before, it used to be that the Beach was the area to avoid — since that is the mecca of where Basel and Basel-related events take place. This year, however, anywhere in the downtown area or Wynwood was congested. Factor in the tourists who do not know how to drive in Miami (because, yes, we have our own methods), and operating a car was a total nightmare last week. - Carolina del Busto
Little Haiti Protesters
“This Is Not South Beach,” the wall of the Superfine! gallery screamed, and yet the metaphorical writing on the wall would say otherwise. Despite the protestations of its less hip residents, Little Haiti is on schedule to become the next gentrified Miami paradise. Last Thursday morning, the township's community members took to the streets bearing signs that read “Little Haiti is not Wynwood” and “Little Haiti is not for sale!” That evening, a bunch of white kids who wouldn't have partied in that neighborhood ten years ago got drunk on art a stone's throw away. Even if you're a socially-aware gentrifier, you're still a gentrifier, and in that sense, the Haitians of Little Haiti lost this round. - Kat Bein
Romero Britto at a Jeb Bush rally in June 2015.
Michele Eve Sandberg
People may assume most artists are liberals, but such is not the case with colorful mismatcher Romero Britto. The man behind Miami's most inescapable color palette is a big Jeb Bush supporter, so big in fact, he hosted an Art Basel fund raiser in the presidential candidate's honor. Bush seems one of the less creepy options of the horrifying Repubs this year, but he's still the dude who did away with affirmative action in state universities and implemented standardized tests. He also vetoed high-speed rail, which makes him a vision-less poop. Thanks a lot, Britto. You're a turd by association. - Kat Bein
Art Basel Security
One doesn't expect much commotion to happen at a swanky art event. Basel may be the Ultra of the art world, but we expect the visitors at the convention center to behave themselves accordingly. That was not the case this last week when a fight led to one woman stabbing another. Like, with an actual knife (well, an X-Acto knife, but still, it was sharp). And blood. This was not a performance piece, contrary to what onlookers initially speculated. The stabber was later identified as Siyuan Zhao, a 24-year-old student from New York City — at least she wasn't from Miami! Art Basel, you should really work on tightening that security next year. - Carolina del Busto
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