"Art Basel Miami Beach Death Count" Reaches 30: Casualties Include Artists, God, Whales

All week long, we at Cultist have been focused on Art Basel Miami Beach's exhibits, fairs, parties, and people. Shame on us. We failed to acknowledge the sobering truth about Miami's annual art week: the number of casualties left in its wake.

But the Art Basel Miami Beach Death Count project hasn't forgotten. And it's honoring those tragically lost with an ever-rising tally on its website this week.

Some have perished in cars, like poor Edwin Beauchamp, who "couldn't deal with traffic, drove off the venetian." Others suffered "Alcohol Poisoning/Bleeding Ears." (RIP Barron Sherer.)

But most of the deaths are far more bizarre: "Died from Kanye." "Suffered fatal hurt feelings from Marina Abramovic's handler." "Killed by an airborne virus that is only contagious when a rich northerner says the word delectable."

No, these aren't real deaths. They're a joke response to this year's Art Basel madness -- and like any great joke, they're funny because there's an element of truth in each one. And that truth is that, seriously? All this Basel shit could kill a person.

"Art Basel Miami Beach Death Count" is hosted at the website of 2013 New Times Mastermind winner Bleeding Palm, the art collective known for its bizarre, colorful and animated work on the web. By contrast, the Death Count site is downright demure: a somber black-and-white homage to the ones we've lost, listing the names, dates, locations, and causes of death for each of the fallen.

"The attention brought to the death toll every year on Black Friday got me thinking about how we lose three or four good people during Basel each year," Bleeding Palm's Ronnie Rivera told New Times. "I thought it was important to bring attention to this, so I started documenting it. I had no idea this year the death toll would be so high and that Miami would lose so many people who are important to our local arts community. It's a real travesty."

Miami creatives do seem to have been hardest hit by this year's Art Basel "deaths." According to the site, Miami artist Liz Ferrer, for example, "died (a little)" at location "inside" on Dec. 3. Miami artist Kevin Arrow was the victim of the above mentioned Abramovic handler. And in one of the newest developments, Sweat Records proprietor Lolo Reskin has reportedly "died strangled by a headphone cord" "in your arms tonight."

Other casualties include God, who's listed as "straight up dead" at the Midtown Target, and "10 whales (identities unknown)" who died "stranded attempting to coordinate an assault on Miami Beach."

"I predict that we may reach 60 deaths this year," Rivera continued. "I seriously hope no one else dies. It's just not worth it."

Know of a "death" that's gone unreported? The Death Count website is soliciting tips via email. Visit In the meantime, be safe out there, you guys. There's no telling when Kanye might strike next.

Follow Ciara LaVelle on Twitter @ciaralavelle.

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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle