How to Do Art Basel Miami Beach Week Like a True Local
It's that time of year when the global art world elite descends upon our fair city and has its way with it for a week. Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County has not yet declared this as a weeklong work-free holiday, and for us locals, it's easy to get either overwhelmed or way too lost in all the highbrow debauchery.
Luckily, Riptide has some tips for making the most of this mess.
Spend the early part of the week telling everyone that you're going to take it easy this year and "play it by ear"
This gives off an air of jaded experience. "Oh this entire silly week of art world excess and debauchery? So over it. Besides, I've done this so many times I'm sure I'll just stumble upon whatever is worthwhile anyway." Do not, however, let anyone know that this belies the fact you're still getting over this last weekend's hangover or are reminded of the stern talking to you got from you boss last year or the time you looked at your bank account after it was all over and thought, "But if all that champagne was free, where did my money go?"
You'll quickly drop this act anyway and find yourself saying, "While I appreciate your offer of a bump, Benoit, I simply can't. Why it's almost ... four o'clock on a Thursday morning? Fuck, really? I've got work tomorrow."
On that note, start coughing audibly whenever your boss is around
Gotta make that, "Sorry, can't come in today. I'm sick" call sort of believable just in case.
Seriously though, start slow
I'm sorry, but if you're already in full-on Basel mode right now, on a Tuesday (!!!), you're just a scene whore thirsty for that free champagne. You're a local. Take it easy. Ain't nothing good going on yet anyway.
Do not make an overly detailed agenda
Do not be that annoying asshole who is like "Well, if we get to this opening at six we'll have time for one glass of champagne. Then it's off to the party at the Delano for 45 minutes. After that we've got five openings in Wynwood we're supposed to go to, and then I think there might be time for two or three after parties." STOP. IT. CALM. DOWN.
Have one can't miss event on hand for each night, and keep a couple of extras in mind just in case. Other than that, just go with the flow and go where the night takes you. If something is good, your friends will text or Tweet about it anyway.
RSVP to everything
There's no such thing as being on too many lists. As long as you're not making promises to actual friends, remember that these are not legally binding contracts. That opening featuring paintings by freed research lab monkeys? Plus one, please.
Prepare your apologies for everyone you won't be able to see
Seems like everyone is in town, and if they're not, they know someone who is that they want you to hang out with. No, you probably won't be able to get drinks with your college roommate's third cousin. You might not even see some of your own friends all week. Just accept it.
Find you Art Basel conquest
Tired of the beach bodies and Eurotrash Miami Beach usually has to offer? Now is your time to expand your sexual repertoire. Start by trying to seduce that millionaire art collector or internationally known artist, and work your way down through the elfish gallery assistants and visiting press until you find success. Just do not get so desperate that you find yourself in a handjob situation in the back of a Tercel with a crustpunk who hitchhiked down because their friend had a piece showing at Fountain. Just don't do it. Keep some dignity.
Visit your favorite South Beach dive sometime after 3 a.m.
Even the most ratchet spots in town tend to take on a VIP sheen during Basel, so don't write them off. It's truly surreal. You know how Mac's Club Deuce is always one "Best Bars in America" lists in like GQ and Esquire? Yeah, well, now's the time assholes with GQ subscriptions actually go check it out. Twist, the Washington Avenue club, transfers from its normal state of tribal house hotspot into a gathering of the world's homosexual elite (this is an art fair, after all), all drunkenly flirting with unsuspecting Kendall twinks.
There's no time for it.
Oh, and see some artwork
Just a little. It really makes for good small talk.
No, but seriously, do take some quality time to actually check out the art work. A lot of it's shit. Some of it's neat, but ultimately gimmicky. Every once in a while, though, you'll spot something amidst all the hubbub that actually reminds you why we hold weeklong parties in the name of art in the first place.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.