Vanity Fair and MOCA Kick-off Art Basel with Mark Handforth's Rolling Stop and Style

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​Art Basel is back, bringing with it the same fancy faces and high art madness. An this week of culture isn't all about graffiti or murals in Wynwood -- the Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, made sure to put on a Basel bash with style. Last night, in cool weather clothes, Miami's glitterati came out en masse to the North Miami museum, talking up a storm and posing for pictures.

It was one of the busiest parties of the night, and we know this because we exhaustingly attended just about every last one of them. The crowd was definitely a bit older than the ones closer to Wynwood, and less local artists attended than one might expect. Drinks of Dewars and Bombay Sapphire were poured by heavy-handed bartenders and people snacked on comfort tapas.

The highlight of the night wasn't the free Vanity Fair magazines being handed out, but the work of Mark Handforth. His show Rolling Stop, part of the Knight Exhibition Series, features large mostly metal installations, which somehow filled the huge space with warmth. Though some of the sculptures were gigantic, they didn't hog the room, but rather spread out so that people might enjoy walking through them.

"I think the show is essentially a landscape that refers to the landscape we live in here," a tropical one, Handforth told us. The artist works in Miami and Rolling Stop is about this city. "In a sense, this show spreads out into pieces all over the city. I hope when people come here, they get the sense that it's part of an ongoing piece."

He created all of the gigantic works there himself, they included a gigantic wire hanger, and a disassembled phone booth. "Years ago, when Art Basel came, I thought it was going to be weird, and I was worried, and now I think it's kind of great for everyone." He said of this week's madness. Handforth also noted that though last night's opening was crazy, he wasn't finished celebrating its success.

Designer Nektar de Stagni's jewelry was added to the MOCA museum store for the season. A perfect Christmas gift for someone you really love or enjoy reading regularly (hint).

With the huge crowd and early 9 p.m. closing time, we missed Teresita Fernandez's Pivot Points V. Guess another trek to 125th Street is necessary. For those of us who live here, that may likely have to wait till after the rest of the art has cleared out of town. MOCA, though far from the action, is definitely a must-see stop on any out of towner's Basel map.

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