Art Basel week: where fine art brings out the crudeness in people.
Something about all that free booze, the nagging sense there's always a better party than the one you're at, and viewing copious amounts of art in a setting akin to Black Friday can bring out the worst conduct in some people. So, to prevent you from annoying those around you and enhance your Basel experience, we politely offer these behaviors to avoid.
See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 Fairs Guide
1. Going to events just for the free booze.
An open bar at a moderately sized event is truly a gift from above. Standing in line for ten minutes to get a half-strength drink of some weird new flavor in a space where there's twice as many people as there should comfortably be is its own special type of hell. Stop showing up to things just because there's free booze. Assuming you're not the type of monster who fails to tip at an open bar, you'll still end up spending money, and if you really are a cheap alcoholic, you already know there are better ways to get buzzed for less than $10. So attend events you'd go to only if there wasn't an open bar, and pregame with a bottle of Trader Joe's wine.
2. Bragging about the events you've been invited to on Facebook.
Newsflash: Anyone with half a connection in Miami and an email address has been invited to at least a half-dozen "exclusive" events too. Unless you're passing along that RSVP email, no one cares. All but a handful of events are really as exclusive as they're made out to be anyway. So bragging to your supposed friends that you're going to an event that you presume they can't just comes off as clueless and classless.
3. Taking photos with the art.
Art fairs, as it turns out, are not meant to be Instagram selfie photo studios. We're not anti-selfie, but there's a time and place for everything. Posting a picture that says, "Look at this awe-inspiring art piece that I think truly and innovatively conveys a bold truth, but mostly look how cute I am standing in front of it!" reveals a special type of oblivious vanity. Besides, you're blocking our view.
4. Making an overpacked schedule and obsessively sticking to it.
It's good to plan a loose schedule of possible events, but partying and sticking to a rigid schedule are two things that assuredly do not go together. We all have that friend who breaks out his Excel skills, plans a detailed list of events, and is like, "So, I was thinking we'd start at this boutique opening in the Design District. Maybe have a drink or two. Then across the street there's this other thing. Like maybe Haitian art or something? I'm not really sure, but I RSVP'd, so we might as well go. Then there's like three gallery things in Wynwood we can probably knock out in an hour. Then it's off to the Beach. It's not set in stone yet, but I'm thinking the Gale first, then Shore Club, then the Delano, but we can't get too carried away because it's back to Wynwood by 2 a.m. because this DJ my friend says is really good is playing at the Electric Pickle."
To which you can only reply, "Right, and did you schedule any time to actually have fun at any of these events?"
5. Treating gallery assistants like your personal art history tutor.
The truth of the matter is that art fairs are not meant to expose the general populace to art (they're actually a horrible setting to really experience art anyway). They're set up to sell expensive pieces to rich people. The only reason you, John Q. Public, are allowed in is because these things aren't cheap to set up, so they charge you admission to help underwrite the whole thing. Many of the gallery workers might not want to admit it, but they're basically salespeople this week. They're overworked, often overpartied, and forced to sit in 200 square feet of space for hours at the time in the middle of a hectic bazaar while reminding people from Kendall not to touch the art. If you're not planning to buy anything, they probably won't bother to give you good answers to your Art 101 questions anyway. Just look it up on Wikipedia instead.
6. Toting your young children to anything.
Just no. Unless your children are well-behaved, wise-beyond-their-years heroines out of a Roald Dahl book (which we can assure you they are not), they probably don't want to be there anyway. Oh, sure, children should be exposed to art, but just wait until PAMM opens and starts the children's programs. Your kids won't get anything but overwhelmed and overstimulated at an art fair.
7. Complaining that parties overshadow the art.
Again, folks, this is an art sales event, not an art appreciation week. It's a celebration of art as commodity instead of creativity, which can be a bit soul-crushing if, y'know, you actually like art. So excuse those of us who like to swig vodka to wash the bad taste of crappy art experiences out of our mouths.
Or at least so goddam much of it. Most people legitimately need to use the bathroom right now. What the hell are you doing in there?
9. Celeb hunting.
Ask yourself: Do I really want to be at a party with Sylvester Stallone? An art party? Really?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
10. Sloppy party crashing.
Successful party crashing takes some research, finesse, and the knowledge of when to fight a velvet rope battle and when to just walk away. If you can't get into this party, there's probably another one a block or two away. Do not be the idiot arguing with the bouncer and dropping names faster than Miami condo prices in 2008. The sad part is that sometimes this tactic works, but when you get inside, no one will want to talk to your desperate ass anyway.