Islands in the Stream

Linda Yablonsky around the 13th Art Basel Miami Beach

Left: Dealers Philomene Magers and Monika Sprueth with Whitney Museum chief curator Donna De Salvo. Right: Artist-dealer John Kelsey.

LAST WEEK, Miami Beach inspired murder. The killers were the many thousands in town for Miami Art Week—up to 100,000 of them, if you please. Their primary victim was time. Sleep ran a close second. Weapons of choice were beaches, superhigh heels, dinners for everyone you have ever heard of, cocktail parties to promote the self or luxury products to rub into the faces of have-nots, brunches to do the same, invitation-only concerts, dives like Sandbar and Twist, public conversations that breathed hot air into weighty-sounding subjects, and millions of dollars worth of art.

All of this was obvious from the jump. Yet, for the adventurous, there were still discoveries.

“What’s Thousand Island?” inquired the Italian dealer Franco Noero last Thursday, during a boisterous four-gallery dinner at downscale Puerto Sagua. “It’s an American invention,” he was told. “A salad sauce.” Giving a plastic squeeze bottle containing an irradiated orange substance a long look, he said, “I think I’ll try it.”

Left: Dealer Johann Koenig. Right: Dealer Rachel Uffner with Art Production Fund director Casey Fremont and APF cofounder Yvonne Force Villareal.

The Basel art fair’s winter encampment is like that. During its residency (officially December 3–7 this year), Miami divides into a thousand party islands floating the good life on a sea of free drinks and questionable taste. Occasionally, a bridge to redemption appears.

Design Miami approached it with an exuberant display of Memphis furniture by Ettore Sottsass presented by two New York art (not furniture) galleries, Koenig & Clinton and Joe Sheftel. The art crowd swarming the floor—the main fair wouldn’t open till the next day—had a good laugh (or was it a cry of horror?) at the super-gauche floor lamps, or whatever they were (King Kong on a silvery, fifteen-foot-tall Empire State Building with a golden temple at its base), that Carpenters Workshop erected, no doubt to attract any drug lords in the thirty-five-gallery tent.

“Did you see the paper today?” asked Peter Marino, tagged by Miami PR agents as the “fashion” architect, despite his daily dress in bicep-revealing motorcycle leathers. “They called me the prom king of Miami!” he chortled. “Don’t you love it?”

Left: Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg. Right: Dealers Lucy Chadwick and Ash L’Ange.

Miami loves Marino. He won the design fair’s first Visionary award, then created a black leather–paneled wall to front a special booth showing chairs from his collection with a life-size mannequin of himself. Bold branding! The Bass Museum also made him the subject of “One Way: Peter Marino,” an opulent exhibition of his impressive collecting habits. Curated by the peripatetic Jérôme Sans but clearly designed by Marino to emphasize the black, the metallic, and the self, it features five commissioned installations (three from artists repped by Emmanuel Perrotin) and a list of corporate sponsors that includes Chanel, Dior, and Vuitton (all Marino clients).

Imagine art by the likes of Warhol, Hirst, Prince, Kiefer, and (the high point) Mapplethorpe beautifully installed in a luxurious, private gentleman’s club with heroic portraits of the gentleman, bronze boxes designed by the gentleman, many shiny skulls, and cabinets of curiosities stocked with the gentleman’s fetish objects. Honestly, this show is unusual. The evening’s VIP preview kicked up buzz that vibrated throughout the week.

“It’s a big day in the art market,” noted Amy Cappellazzo, though she wasn’t talking about Marino’s show but the sudden resignation of Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy just thirteen days after Sotheby’s William Ruprecht was forced from his job. And, said dealer Rachel Lehmann, “The weather’s good!” Indeed, it was a fine evening for endless jawboning all over Miami, which seemed oblivious to nationwide protests against police killing unarmed black men.

Left: Dealer Augusto Arbizo. Right: Dealers Andrew Kreps and Anton Kern.

Anger management—and a vaccine against violence—were each free for the asking at the newly formed Institute of Contemporary Art. In one of the two shows opening its temporary home in the Design District, Pedro Reyes set up a clinic to address people with issues. “I don’t recognize the place!” ICA trustee Barbara Herzberg told Alex Gartenfeld, the museum’s deputy director and chief curator. Guests could sign up for “couples therapy,” or climb two floors for a fresh view of the Andra Ursuta sculptures installed by the intrepid artist on crossbeams at each level. These included Ass to Mouth, the Brancusi-like dildo sculpture that won over dealer Mike Egan on his first visit to Ursuta’s studio. That was four years ago. Now they’re married.

A few streets away, Don and Mera Rubell were celebrating fifty years of marriage and collecting with a group exhibition “To Have and to Hold,” and six solo exhibitions. Mark Flood looked especially strong and Lucy Dodd contributed a room-size abstraction along with a hefty catalogue documenting its yearlong making. “It’s crazy, right?” said an excited Mera Rubell.

Back on South Beach, Glenn O’Brien was corralling rappers and performance artists for his TV Party shoot at Casa Claridge, while dealer Jessica Silverman and her girlfriend, art-world anthropologist Sarah Thornton, gave a dinner for artist Dashiell Manley. At the table on Lincoln Road were Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger and Lovestagram creator Kaitlyn Trigger, suddenly the most coveted party guests around.

Left: Artist Jessica Stockholder and EXPO Chicago director Tony Karman. Right: Dealer Esther Schipper.

But they weren’t in evidence at Ian Schrager’s new Miami Edition Hotel (the old Seville), where Tracey Emin left the dinner hosted by W magazine for its art issue just when Art Production Fund cofounder Yvonne Force Villareal headed for the skating rink in the hotel basement. “Look what I found under my chair!” shrieked Whitney Museum curator Scott Rothkopf, brandishing a pair of silicone falsies in the faces of Instagram-obsessed photographer Todd Eberle and the Serpentine Gallery’s Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones.

The subject of a New Yorker profile published last week, Obrist led Instagram-accented panels almost every day. On Wednesday morning, Krieger and Trigger showed up in images posted to Instagram from Casa Tua, where Obrist and Peyton-Jones were hosting a pre-fair breakfast. It was Obrist who first made Krieger aware of the app’s appeal to artists. “That was a year ago,” Krieger said. “Before that, I had no idea.”

A few minutes later, the doors to the thirteenth Art Basel Miami Beach opened to the lifted and manicured masses gathered at the convention center. “It’s like Italians lining up to get on a vaporetto in Venice,” said Bard CCS director Tom Eccles. “At least no one is pushing,” collector Marieluise Hessel observed. Throughout the day, people behaved well. No one disregarded the rope drawn across a corner of David Zwirner’s stand, where Rothkopf hoped to persuade a group of Whitney trustees to add a second (better) Jason Rhoades to the museum’s permanent collection. And no one molested Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume after the beefy bodyguards assigned to him by Ryan Gander—the gist of a performance for Art Public—abandoned him for Leonardo DiCaprio.

Left: Collectors Norman and Norah Stone. Right: ADAA deputy director Patty Brundage and dealer Sean Kelly.

Some collectors were also doing double duty. I found William Bell trading stocks on his iPad while looking at art in the Gagosian booth and thinking about the Urs Fischers at Sadie Coles. The latter dealer, meanwhile, played a nearly mute sentry guarding Fischer’s green bronze “raindrops”—sculptures suspended in midair across the stand—against crowds of gawkers. Massimo De Carlo mounted a stellar wall that grouped together paintings by Alighiero Boetti, Rob Pruitt, Piero Manzoni, and Lucio Fontana. “We aim to please,” De Carlo said. “How do you like my sign?” asked Gavin Brown of a rotating green neon by Martin Creed that spelled out the word PEOPLE. Almost as high as the ceiling, it was hard to miss.

New this year was the Survey section for neglected historical works. It’s like Feature at Art Basel, but smaller. The 1970s Michelle Stuart works on paper at Leslie Tonkonow alone were worth the walk to the back corner, but then there was the bonus of Gina Pane’s sand-painting homage to Malevich’s Black Square at Broadway 1602. And a ’70s Alison Knowles installation at James Fuentes. But in every sector, I saw works both old and new to fill the holes on the shelves of my present and future mental archive—the handmade David Altmejd spools at Andrea Rosen, the gorgeous Max Bill at De Carlo, the early Mike Nelson at Noero, K8 Hardy’s Fashion Fashion books at Reena Spaulings, the Sheila Hicks at Sikkema Jenkins, the Nairy Baghramian at Daniel Buchholz, and on and on. Surprise: Some art fairs really can deliver an experience of art.

This fair, by all accounts, was hugely profitable. Emphasis on huge. More intimate, and thoroughly enjoyable, were the cocktail launch parties that evening in three bungalows at the Edition. In one, Fulton Ryder introduced Marilyn Minter’s first artist book, Plush, with a show of her “bush” photographs, racy and gorgeous at once. Next door, where Harper’s Books and Half Gallery were the hosts, Jordan Wolfson was signing his book and Genieve Figgis—discovered first by Richard Prince—was signing catalogues and showing her appealing paintings. And next door to that, Nate Lowman and Leo Fitzpatrick presented work by Sue Williams, who was definitely not home alone.

Left: Collectors Phil Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons with Rose Dergan and artist Will Cotton. Right: Dealer Simone Subal.

In fact, it was so cozy around the bungalows that I was almost sad to depart for the Design Miami dinner honoring Marino. Cocktails took place in the far-from-domestic luxury mall developed by Craig Robins. Christie’s America chair Marc Porter denied he ever wanted Murphy’s job, while Florian Baier and Nina Bischofberger described the new complex they’re building to house Bruno Bischofberger’s immense collection outside of Zurich.

As dinner began at tables in the street, I raced to gated La Gorce Island, where a Cuban band was playing at Maria Baibakova’s housewarming for her father’s new Miami digs—a 1953 Spanish-style mansion once owned by Cher. (Provenance!) This was an entirely pleasant affair, with a delicious buffet served under the nearly full moon over Biscayne Bay. Speedboats returned guests to South Beach just in time for the Miley Cyrus concert at Tommy Hilfiger’s Raleigh Hotel.

Those who hadn’t gotten the e-mail earlier in the day instructing them to pick up wristbands in the lobby that afternoon stood in a crush at the door as the potty-mouthed, silver-wigged performer, working hard to overcome her child-star image and inhabit the role of—wait—an artist, began a set accompanied by the Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. What can I say? He sounded great and she’ll never be street. But the crowd went wild, raising iPhones and iPads to the sky to capture the spectacle of silver confetti, a dancing penis, and magic mushroom, presented by Jeffrey Deitch. “Your life will never be better than it is right now,” I heard one person in the crowd say as Cyrus covered Led Zeppelin. Others were less adoring. “LCD Sound System was much more exciting,” one man commented, recalling a Deitch/Raleigh/Basel concert from the past. “It’s fascinating. Here’s this avant-garde visionary coming out of the mainstream,” said Deitch, who informed an inquisitor that he was “retired” from dealing art. After the crowd dispersed, he went to bed.

Left: ForYourArt founder Bettina Korek with collector Jean Pigozzi. Right: China Chow.

Next morning brought VIPs to routine visits to Miami’s publicly private collections. I opted for a Ruinart-sponsored Public Art Fund brunch at the Shelborne feting artist Georgia Russell’s special packaging for the brand. It was the only proper breakfast I had all week, but I missed the lunch that the Argentine Faenas were giving to announce the insanely extravagant residential development they’re building on Collins Avenue, cultural forum centerpiece by Rem Koolhaas. (According to the Miami Herald’s Alastair Gordon, Miami has no less than 280 new buildings in the works, with many apartments starting at $10 million. What?)

I missed lunch because I was immersed in the NADA fair at the Deauville Hotel, which was as close as I would get to a beach. NADA is like Williamsburg to ABMB’s Manhattan: hip, relaxed and scruffy, and a little too much. I reached my limit halfway through, though I wished Sergei Tcherepnin, voted the winner of the Artadia/NADA Award by judges Massimiliano Gioni and Cecilia Alemani, had appeared at Lisa Overduin’s booth to give promised massages. I missed him because I went back to the Edition for a panel (moderated by Obrist) that pitted singer (and Robert Pattinson squeeze) FKA Twigs against Alex Israel. Immediately afterward, Obrist appeared yet again at ABMB’s Art Salon with Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, auctioneer Simon de Pury, artist Amalia Ulman, and MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach.

That night, I missed Daniel Arsham’s opening at Locust Projects, a cocktail on a yacht cohosted by Deitch, the preview of a Shen Wei exhibition at the Miami Dade College’s Museum, the more underground “Autobody” show, and probably dozens of other things—including Biesenbach’s “Zero Tolerance: Miami” at YoungArts, one exhibition that actually went in for protest politics. Now my dance card was full, but I didn’t want packaged glamour. I didn’t want fashion. I’d seen enough art. So I traded Aby Rosen’s dinner at the W for the casual Esther Schipper/Mendes Wood/Mehdi Chouakri/Meyer Riegger gallery dinner at Puerto Sagua, where the Americans left earliest, the Brazilians arrived last, and Franco Noero never did eat his salad

Back in New York, I slept for three days.

Left: Dealer Massimo De Carlo. Right: Dealer Javier Peres and artist Mark Flood.

Left: Dealers Pedro Mendes and Felipe Dmab with collector Maria Bukhtoyarova. Right: Whitney Museum curator Scott Rothkopf.

Left: Dealer Sophie Mörner. Right: Author Sarah Thornton with dealer Jessica Silverman and artist Dashiell Manley.

Left: Dealer David Maupin. Right: Curator Abaseh Mirvali and collector Craig Robins.

Left: Bard CCA director Tom Eccles and collector Marieluise Hessel. Right: Frieze Art Fair director Victoria Siddell.

Left: Collector Alain Servais with Protocinema founder Mari Spirito. Right: Stedelijk Museum director Beatrix Ruf.

Left: Dealer-publisher Brendan Dugan. Right: Dealer Peter Currie with collector Jemila Afshar, dealer Daniel Buchholz and collector Sascha Bauer.

Left: Artist Kehinde Wiley. Right: Artist Genieve Figgis.

Left: Dealer David Kordansky with his son, Leo, and wife Mindy Shapero. Right: Dealer Marian Goodman.

Left: Artist Nate Lowman. Right: Artist and Today Is The Day Foundation director Noritoshi Hirakawa with dealer Carol Greene.

Left: Artist Pedro Reyes. Right: Collector Barabara Herzberg and ICA Miami deputy director and curator Alex Gartenfeld.

Left: Artists Josh Kline and Margaret Lee with dealer Oliver Newton and collector Mera Rubell. Right: Art consultant Amy Cappellazzo.

Left: Artist Andra Ursuta and dealer Mike Egan. Right: Beyeler Foundation director Sam Keller and artist Marina Abramović.

Left: Artist Marilyn Minter with Fulton Ryder director Fabiola Alondra and Bill Miller. Right: Visionaire editor Cecilia Dean.

Left: Dealer Simon de Pury. Right: Swiss Institute director Simon Castets.

Left: New Museum deputy director and chief curator Massimiliano Gioni and Highline Art curator Cecilia Alemani. Right: Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus. (Photo: David Velasco)

Left: Serpentine Gallery codirector Hans Ulrich Obrist, Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger, and Lovestagram creator Kaitlyn Trigger. Right: MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach.

Left: Collector Melissa Soros with dealer Andrea Rosen and Creative Time director Anne Pasternak. Right: Dealers Michael Jenkins and Brent Sikkema.

Left: Musician Wayne Coyne with dealer Jeffrey Deitch. Right: Dealer Sadie Coles. (Except where noted, all photos: Linda Yablonsky)

Left: Publicist Nadine Johnson with architect Peter Marino. Right: At the Miley Cyrus concert at the Raleigh. (Photo: David Velasco)

Left: Collectors Maria Baibakova and Oleg Baibakov. Right: Artist Lucy Dodd.

Left: Photographer Todd Eberle. Right: Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden and dealer Bill Powers.

Left: Artist Ryan Gander. Right: Collector Carlos de la Cruz and Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume.

Left: Bernard Picasso and dealer Almine Rech. Right: Katonah Museum of Art executive director Darsie Alexander and dealer Leslie Tonkonow.

Left: Jewish Museum deputy director Jens Hoffman and Jewish Museum assistant curator Kelly Taxter. Right: Jhordan Dahl and artist Jonah Freeman.

Left: Warhol Foundation president Joel Wachs and LA MoCA curator Bennett Simpson. Right: SculptureCenter curator Ruba Katrib with artist Lucie Stahl.

Left: Artist Aaron Young. Right: Marina Abramovic’s “#ArtBaselNaps” at the Beyeler Foundation booth.

Left: Artist-musicians Adam Miller and Nicola Kuperus. Right: Ceramicist Adam Silverman.

Left: Writer Alastair Gordon. Right: Dealers Alex Freeman and Robbie Fitzpatrick.

Left: Dealers Chiara Repetto Kreps and Francesca Kaufmann. Right: Dealer Christine Messineo.

Left: Dealers Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple. Right: Art adviser Diane Ackerman.

Left: Photographer Firooz Zahedi with collector Beth Rudin DeWoody. Right: Architects Florian Baier and Nina Bischofberger.

Left: Santa Barbara MCA director of development Frederick Janka. Right: Dealer François Ghebaly.

Left: Writer and TV Party host Glenn O’Brien. Right: Artist Georgia Russell.

Left: Gregory Lang. Right: Dealer Honor Fraser.

Left: Curator Jeffrey Grove. Right: Dealer Jérôme Poggi.

Left: Hirshhorn Museum director Melissa Chu with Artnet editor Benjamin Gennochio. Right: Dealers Misako and Jeffrey Rosen.

Left: Dealer Stephen Friedman. Right: Bass Museum director Silvia Cubiña.

Left: Art Basel director Marc Spiegler. Right: Design Miami director Rodman Primack and architect Enrique Norten.

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