The Art Lounge at Art Basel this year was an extraordinary fusion of art, culture, and wellness. Hosted by theART-Dept. in collaboration with Pavan Bahl & Uzo Udu from NRVLD, the team brought a week-long oasis of creativity to Miami. Visionary founders of theART-Dept, Keith Botha and Greg Bean orchestrated an unparalleled experience for an entire week.
From December 6th to the 10th, the Surfcomber Hotel underwent a spectacular metamorphosis into a vibrant art lounge. The immersive celebration was an explosion of creativity, featuring installations, brand activations, live paintings, and unconventional art experiences that challenge the norm.
In a dynamic partnership with Mira From Miami, a local luminary in street art and fashion, theART-Dept. showcased the talents of more than 25 artists and hosted over 15 art activations. Renowned brands like Barry’s, Baileys, Therabody, Startag, and Playground also infused their unique contributions to the site.
Emphasizing the community-driven aspect, Keith Botha, co-founder of theART-Dept., stated, "The event encouraged community participation with multiple walls available for painting, providing attendees with the opportunity to showcase their creativity and embrace the vibrant atmosphere."
The lineup of creators included Sheila Darcey's "Sketchpoetic," offering daily art readings and flow state creations. Live performances and art activations were presented by Z HOVAK, Pink Dog aka Oliwia Szczekot, Alex Alpert, MR Motion, Meta Betties, Mira, J.O. Jerusalem, and Kavi. Featured artists also include Lauren Altman, Adam Vlux, Mary Lai, Jenny Chandler, Amy Smith, Luther, and Bijan Machen.
Lauren Altman shared her excitement, stating, “My work is a personal invitation into my weird and wonderful world to discover the possibilities of playing with old clothes, paint, beads, and even compost… a reminder that we all bring something special and unique into this world.”
Sheila Darcey's Garden of Healing served as a sanctuary, where art transformed into a healing force. Guests were immersed in the therapeutic embrace of this art installation, guiding them through a journey of introspection and renewal.
Mira and Startag presented a captivating live artistry experience, bringing Mira's unique vision to life in collaboration. Guests witnessed the convergence of live art, artsy disk golf, and body art, forming a fusion of starlight and imagination. The awe-inspiring art installations skillfully blurred the lines between reality and fantasy.
Meta Betties presented "Labor Of Materiality," a compelling centerpiece provocatively addressing Reproductive Rights and the autonomy of female-identifying bodies. As a pivotal contribution to reshaping the narrative on Abortion Rights, Meta Betties' work transcended its specific theme, calling for a more comprehensive acknowledgment of women's equity.
In this live performance art, Meta Betties, adorned in her iconic outfit with a symbolic veil, dynamically engaged viewers in a profound interplay between performer, audience, and message. Seamlessly blending historical elements, stereotypical symbolism, and the enigmatic illusion of women's physicality, Meta Betties offered a timely visual representation of women's life experiences on Earth, urging spectators to catalyze change. Viewers engaged in an interactive challenge by scanning QR codes that led to the Meta Betties Action Center. In this piece, people were urged to sign The Women’s Protection Act of 2023!
Other programming live performances on Saturday included Jason Naylor and Ross Pino's fashion show, J.O. Jerusalem, Meta Betties, Mira, Mr. Motion, Z HOVAK, Sheila Darcey, Sarah Main, The Bliksem Boys, Rocsol, Porti, Manu Manu, and more.
As the designated art and experience curators for the week, theART-Dept., in collaboration with their esteemed partners, extended a warm invitation to the Miami community to participate in this exceptional celebration of art, culture, and well-being.
NRVLD's The Art of Wellness activations offer moments of reprieve for guests during the fast-paced week of Art Basel Miami Beach. Art Of Wellness creates an inclusive community for guests to focus on their mental and physical health by participating in an array of wellness sessions, from meditation to fitness, art to dance. Art of Wellness is your community space to gather and enjoy a balanced approach to Art Basel Miami Beach.
Founded by Greg Bean and Keith Botha, theART-Dept. is a three-story creative space operating near the nucleus of LA’s famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. The space also functions as a creative advisory platform capable of remote curation and pop-ups, as well as an online, simplified, direct-to-consumer sales platform. In addition, theART-Dept. is also a Web 3.0 collective featuring over 15 artists.