Art Basel Miami Beach

Peter Marino's One Way at Bass: Luxury and Leather Done Right

The name "Peter Marino" was on the well-moisturized lips of every privileged attendee at the New York Times-hosted International Luxury Conference at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami this week.

And why wouldn't it be? Of all the people on display during the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, the architect, art collector, and Warhol protege Marino seems to know about living most luxuriously.

By "on display," we mean quite literally, too. Marino's personal collection was curated thoughtfully by Palais de Tokyo's Jérôme Sans, at the Bass Museum of Art's One Way. But front and center sitting pretty is a wax sculpture of the often leather-clad Marino, hand tipping his hat at every passerby.

Every news outlet around the world seems to be frothing at the mouth for a tiny taste of Marino and his extravagant lifestyle. It's a bit odd that while most people can't afford rent, the art world still laps up the extravagant like its starving.

See also: From Wynwood to South Beach, Galleries Bring the Heat to Basel

In the Louis Vuitton room.
Rooms at the exhibition are sponsored by Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. Those fortunate to get in (and it was packed) excitedly tiptoed, chattering and iPhones snapping away, through the gallery at both the VIP preview opening on Tuesday and last night's proper vernissage. Moreno attended both, but stayed much longer on Tuesday.

To be fair, who wouldn't want to live like this guy? His taste is clearly honed, his talent undeniable, and his BDSM gear very leathery.

But what's more impressive is how interactive the show is, and finely presented. It's about the design of it all, among other things, so it feels almost like a very fancy living space.

Walking up the ramp, the walls are covered with what looks like VHS tape and black, white, and red-only work by Gregor Hildebrandt, Loris Gréaud, Dan Colen, Rudolf Stingel, and others. It's festive but dark and modern. Though the elements are there, there isn't a Gothic or industrial feel, the energy is still warm in a way, with a hint of humor.

As you round the bend to the first space, you first encounter a display case filled with medical equipment. This sets the sort of metallic vibe, repeated in the futuristic Stingel alien-like busts and Marino's own cast-bronze boxes. But, obviously, everyone is busy vying for a selfie with the wax figure which stands alongside a wall of tasteful photographs of the man himself.

Farhad Moshiri
Other rooms have different themes. On the wall in the Vuitton sponsored room, the explanation is that these works are "borrowings" of other greats or use repurposed materials. There's a Richard Prince wall, and Farhad Moshiri creations -- you could call them sculptures -- bright images made from tiny beads.

Next is the room highlighting Marino's work as an architect, with videos and models of buildings from around the world. Then there's the Robert Mapplethorpe room which juxtaposes flesh-focused photos with marble reliefs. And those touchable surfaces lead into a very different space with tons of texture. Two giant Anselm Kiefer's make painting into sculpture with the thickness of the paint. A huge, black Georg Baselitz sculpture towers over in a friendly way, showing what appears to be a couple. Again, you just want to reach out and touch it.

There's a hidden room in the back we didn't notice the first visit where videos of a version of the opera Marino and his wife Jane Trapnell, along with Michal Rovner, Dior, Francesco Clemente and others, staged in their home, Christophe Willibald Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. But in there, you can actually touch something. There's a few stairs that lead to a single black platform where you can stand while a friend snaps a picture. You're part of the show. And in the middle of the room is a round bench that acts as a vase to deep purple calla lilies. It's like a room you'd dream up as a little kid, but in a legit art museum.

The color is again removed in the next room which has a variety of artworks that highlight skulls, including a few Warhols. It could have been kind of corny and like Ed Hardy, but it manages to not even bring that sort of L.A. cheese into the mix.

Even if you're having trouble paying your rent, wearing last year's Keds amidst a crowd of Louboutins, the level of distraction from your inexpensive life is satisfyingly high at One Way. And the show was executed in a way that's hard for even the most bitter culture junkie to criticize.

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy

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