Santigold Standard

David Velasco at the eighth Art Basel Miami Beach


Left: Collector Mera Rubell. Right: Santigold. (All photos: Ryan McNamara)

IS THIS THE NEW “MATURE” MIAMI? The story this year, after the success of the New York auctions, was supposed to be one of recrudescent decadence and sybaritic splendor: big sales and Sex Pistols on the beach. Instead, the first two days were an (arguably more enchanting) mix of “low-key” dinners and “intimate” soirees. UBS decided not to go forward with its annual ecumenical extravaganza on the shore; the Sex Pistols gig turned out to be a flighty rumor hawked by the press. Christie’s Amy Cappellazzo, herself a onetime Floridian, took a moment at an opening to wryly reminisce about a time when art parties consisted of “squares of orange cheese, Carr crackers, and cheap wine.” Looking around, even postboom Miami has standards. But oh for the days of easy lobster and Iggy Pop.

The NADA fair’s usual early view had been moved to later in the week, so Tuesday night’s trek instead began with a preview of the fifth Design Miami. First big surprise of the year: proximity parking. Traffic gridlock approaching the fair had been the most notable feature of last year’s fete, but this edition was surprisingly . . . accessible. Inside was an attractive crowd complemented by attractive objects, including surreal works from Designer of the Year Maarten Baas and Styrofoam-cast furniture by new It Boy Max Lamb. The well-worn distinction between “design” and “art” occasionally seemed superfluous, though there were some around to defend its borders. “Art can be design, but design can’t be art,” said Ben Jones, one of a few crossover artists with a project at Design/Miami. But perhaps another bystander put it best: “Here you get to touch the merch.”

Left: Designer Maarten Baas. Right: Designer John Bennett, Calvin Klein, and Isabel Rattazzi.

From Design Miami we hoofed it to Terence Riley and John Bennett’s elegant glass pied-á-terre—“A mix between Philip Johnson’s guest house and a David Hockney,” Riley smiled—where the pair was celebrating the launch of Antoine Vigne’s smart-looking book Le Corbusier in His Own Words. Bill Arning, who knew Riley from “his ACT UP days,” arrived snapping photos with an enthusiastic entourage. The party felt small and classy, and its coziness didn’t diminish, even when Calvin Klein dropped by to pick up a book and tour the house’s collection. Personal fave in the master bedroom: a Tom Sachs compartment, made for Riley as a tribute to his tenure at MoMA, filled with old phone-message notes to Riley and a lighter. (To someday burn them with?)

Excess might not quite be back, but at least there’s still plenty to do. Forced to choose among a) Emmanuel Perrotin’s typically raucous buffet dinner, b) a glammy opening for “The Reach of Realism” at Miami MoCA, and c) Art Basel’s welcome reception at the Mondrian, we opted for another option entirely: the preview of “Beg Borrow and Steal” at the Rubell Family Collection. Thankfully—or not, depending on your perspective—it seemed everyone else had the same idea. Collectors Adam Lindemann and Amalia Dayan brushed shoulders with public art producers Nicholas Baume and Anne Pasternak and artists Ai Weiwei, Karl Haendel, and Ingar Dragset. “You have to hand it to them for the title,” said Art Basel codirector Marc Spiegler, who dropped by on his whirlwind tour of the evening’s events. On the back patio, a wall of donuts hung in a grid echoed Forrest Myers’s SoHo Wall, while upstairs a Cady Noland Budweiser installation suggested inspiration for some of Jennifer Rubell’s more novel catering ideas. I followed Clarissa Dalrymple, who was herself “following Andy Warhol,” i.e., a peripatetic Mera Rubell trussed up in a spiky black wig. “If you don’t do what you want to do, how can it be worth doing?” Rubell opined. The pair raved about the Sterling Ruby masturbation video recently on view at New York’s Foxy Production. “It changed the way I look at men,” Dalrymple said approvingly.

Left: Antoine Vigne and Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume. Right: Artist Ingar Dragset.

A broken drawbridge on the Venetian Causeway made us late to Paul Kasmin’s plein air dinner for designer Mattia Bonetti at the Standard. We arrived in time to catch a few stragglers and a glimpse of the menu (choice of grilled branzini or skirt steak—a rare moment of real food in Miami). Some skinny-dippers lapped the pool; some brave souls set off for one of many parties at the Fontainbleau. (“All suits and tits,” one friend helpfully noted the next day.) We decided to call it a night.

Next morning: the big fair. I showed up to the press conference hoping for some coffee, but all they had was champagne. PR genius? The line at the entrance for the 12 PM “First Choice” view was less dramatic than in prior years. MoMA trustee David Tieger had hustled his way to the front of the pack; collector Eileen Cohen was less hurried but not far behind. After the first big rush through the gates, people seemed to take their time, and we soon lost ourselves in the new layout. This year, ABMB strove to be simultaneously more spacious and more focused, bringing its various programs (“Nova,” “Positions,” “Kabinett”) under one roof and expanding the square footage from 385,000 to more than 500,000 (and adding five new galleries in the shuffle). Most had more floorspace, but this also meant that quiet moments were all the more palpable. On occasion, prominent dealers could be spotted sitting alone at their booths, confirming that sometimes there’s no lonelier place than a fair.

Left: Dealers David Zwirner and Kristine Bell with LACMA director Michael Govan. Right: Dealer Shaun Caley Regen.

At least the work looked good, and those collectors who were around seemed to be buying. Jorge Pardo designed an eye-catching booth for neugerriemschneider. Wallspace brought a stack of Walead Beshty copper boxes that had been shipped sans packaging through FedEx, making for some nicely aestheticized bumps and scuffs. A series of six hundred Hanne Darboven notes was turning heads at Klosterfelde, while down the aisle at Regen Projects, Gillian Wearing’s uncanny reprise (with creepy face mask) of Robert Mapplethorpe’s late-’80s memento mori self-portrait won a few hearts. “I told her that she should try to redo his self-portrait with the bullwhip,” Shaun Caley Regen quipped. Pause, then a thought: “But that would probably require a full bodysuit.”

Gmurzynska’s booth was also on many tongues (at least among those that could pronounce it), due to some complications that morning involving US marshals, a recondite lawsuit, and the seizure of six million dollars’ worth of paintings. The whole story seemed a canard until some of the details were splashed on the cover of the Art Newspaper, the fair’s daily broadsheet. To its credit, the gallery somehow managed to pull itself together that afternoon to host an informal press conference for Sylvester Stallone, who was having a retrospective of sorts in the booth amid all the Picassos and Boteros. Halfway through the day, at least two of the actor’s works had sold: Childless #1, from 2009, and the more figurative Trapped Ideals, from 1977.

Left: Whitney Museum chief curator Donna De Salvo with dealer Carol Greene. Right: Dealer Martin Klosterfelde.

More conspicuous was the empty booth of Christian Haye gallery (né the Project) in Row H. “We just thought they were taking their time to install,” noted one dealer, “but then they never showed up.” On the upside, the fair’s organizers allowed Sies + Höke gallery across the way to take over the space (at least temporarily) for free; they used it for a scattered, forlorn-looking chess-piece installation by Kris Martin, titled Lost.

Blissfully gone was “Supernova,” the fair’s closest approximation of a red-light district, where dealers were once forced to stand all day in open-spaced minibooths. Its dissolution opened up more room in the “Nova” program, which comprises sixty-four galleries glommed together at the fair’s north end and includes upstarts like the Breeder gallery and Dubai’s the Third Line. “I’m going to put out cards so that people stop asking about my hometown,” said Sunny Rahbar, a proprietor of the latter. “I tell people, ‘Dubai’s going to be fine. Now buy some art!’”

Left: Dealers Jeff Poe and Tim Blum. Right: Dealer Jay Jopling.

But also gone were the much-loved (by attendees, at least) Art Containers on the beach, which meant no engaging stopgap between the fair’s 9 PM closing and the public “Art Loves Music” concert by the ocean (this year headlined by UK musician Ebony Bones). Without the anchor between, crowds drifted, and many set off for other events: Stallone’s dinner at the Setai; Bruce High Quality Foundation’s performance at the W; a reception for the Jumex Collection at the Bass Museum; AnOther Magazine’s soiree at the Delano solarium; cocktails for Teresita Fernandez, ForYourArt, and Cartier.

Others (myself included) took a brief break from the festivities and prepared for the night ahead. More rumors abounded about a Shepard Fairey/Dr. Dre set at the Delano (unlike the Sex Pistols, this one turned out to be true), but it seemed as though the best fun was Deitch Projects, Art Production Fund, and Campari’s postprandial concert at the Raleigh Hotel—Miami’s version of the kunsthalle bar—this year featuring a performance by the unquantifiable and charismatic Santigold. Solange Knowles and designer Jeremy Scott got sweaty near the stage; by the end of the set, even collector Eli Broad, at his usual table up front, was on his feet, hands raised. “This year, I’ve been to silly parties and respectable ones,” said (Sir) Norman Rosenthal. “But this is Renoir in Miami.” Bal du Raleigh?

Left: Dealers Andrew Richards and Marian Goodman. Right: Solange Knowles and designer Jeremy Scott.

Left: Dealer Jeffrey Deitch and Art Basel codirector Marc Spiegler. Right: Dealer Mary Boone.

Left: Dealer Sunny Rahbar of the Third Line. Right: Susan Lowry with MoMA director Glenn Lowry.

Left: Artists Olaf Breuning, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, and Jesper Just. Right: Curator Terence Riley.

Left: Artist Arto Lindsay. Right: Curator Nu Nguyen and collector Michael Ovitz.

Left: Dealer Stuart Shave (right). Right: Dealer Burkhard Riemschneider.

Left: Jeffrey Deitch. Right: 303 Gallery's Mariko Munro, Lisa Spellman, Mari Spirito, and Barbara Corti.

Left: Dealers Niklas Svennung and Chantal Crousel. Right: Dealer Eivind Furnesvik.

Left: Collector Stavros Merjos with dealer Paul Kasmin. Right: Dealer Guido W. Baudach with artist Kalup Linzy.

Left: Dealer James Fuentes. Right: Creative Time's Anne Pasternak and Nato Thompson with collectors Shelley and Phillip Aarons

Left: Collector Pearl Lam. Right: Designer Ricky Clifton.

Left: Dealer Irit Sommer, artists Karl Haendel and Emily Coates, and dealers Jessie Washburne-Harris and Michael Lieberman. Right: Dealer Daniel Buchholz.

Left: Artist Ben Jones with dealer Kathy Grayson. Right: Design dealer Murray Moss.

Left: Team Gallery's Jose Freire, art adviser Mark Fletcher, and Stavros Merjos. Right: Designer Max Lamb.

Left: Dealer Brent Sikkema. Right: Dealer Michael Jenkins.

Left: Art Production Fund's Yvonne Force Villareal with artist Leo Villareal. Right: Art Production Fund's Doreen Remen.

Left: Christpohe Wiesner of Esther Schipper. Right: Dealer Daniel Reich.

Left: James Steele of Galeria Helga de Alvear. Right: Dealers Jane Hait and Janine Foeller.

Left: Dealer Anton Kern. Right: Collectors Bruce Marshall and Rob Teeters.
Image 27#

Left: The Breeder's Nadia Gerazouni. Right: LAND's Angela Robins, Shamim Momin, Taylor Livingston, and William Parks.